SUPERTOYS LAST ALL SUMMER LONG


Future Of The Left: ‘The Peace And Truce Of Future Of The Left’
September 29, 2016, 10:37 am
Filed under: Album Reviews, Uncategorized

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First impressions of ‘The Peace And Truce…’ is that FOTL’s fifth studio record is business as usual for the Welsh rock unit  – now a trio once more after guitarist Jimmy Watkins’ recent departure. 

Steve Albini’s influence continues to dominate – in particular that of the bespectacled bastard’s ‘minimalist rock’ act Shellac (see ‘The Limits Of Battle Ships’) – as does the tone of camp wrath and general piss-taking, while yet again “The Peace And The Truce…” is another stonking album from a band who in a perfect world would be bigger than Jesus. But listen closely and you’ll detect, beneath the crunch, a new flavour: the genetics of early post-punk, albeit smothered in disgustingly corrosive rage-music. 

While much of their previous album ‘How To Stop…’ was all binary broad-strokes – kind of like a noise-rock spin on Pixies’ loud-soft dynamics – here we have a less ideologically sure template, in the true spirit of post-punk and the confused, paradoxical world the genre painted; a less simplistic, more ambiguous sound, closer in construction to the tangled moral mires of post-punk greats The Pop Group, or a more scream-y The Raincoats, or even post-punk’s mavericks This Heat but with added heavy low-end (see ‘In A Former Life’), better able to articulate Falko’s complicated outlook on life. 

The lead man, whose sense of bitter British-made irony and absurdist comedy (belying, of course, the fury of a moralist) is pure post-punk, now has a more sophisticated and expressive musical backdrop to work with, in which he can better explore this complex culture of ours via his favourite subject matters…namely hypocrisy, the sins of the British alpha male and modern life’s increasing pointlessness – and on ‘Back When I Was Brilliant’, where best to eat Thai food when in Hamburg. 

Essentially it’s post-punk with a comedian for a spokesman, only with every idea delivered in the form of a hard, unpretentious gut-punch and with the utmost degree of irreverence. The rhythmic funk, the prominence of the bass guitar in the newly spare arrangements of a three piece act – all very post-punk. ‘No Son Will Ease Your Solitude’ could be a hard-rock Magazine, while ‘50 Days Before The Hun’, whose combination of horror synths and raspberry-blowing kazoo tells you all you need to know about FOTL’s jaundiced view of society, takes its cues from post-punk progenitors Bauhaus and the goths’ proto post-punk howl. 

More macabre still, on ‘Reference Point Zero’ Falko’s demonic refrain of “Shake Rattle and Rolllllllll” gets right to the heart of darkness in the lead man’s cynical soul.

“The Peace and Truce…” doesn’t boast ‘How To Stop…’s wealth of tunes – sometimes a necessary sacrifice when forging a sound as opposed to songs – but by the same token, little of the material is what you’d call ‘art-music’. ‘Grass Parade’ and the aptly named ‘Running All Over the Wicket’ are sped-up punk barnstormers conceived with only one purpose in mind – pleasing live audiences, while the album’s best track, ‘Back When I Was Brilliant’, resembles an austere, deathly take on Zeppelin’s mega-blues. Hard as fuck, smart as fuck, as much brains as brawn, is there a more essential British guitar band around than Future Of The Left? 

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