Jeff Moody

A glimpse into the future of Future of the Left

By - Nov 26th, 2011 04:00 am
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email

When Kelson Mathias quit Future Of The Left last year, I was worried. Mathias turned out to be the perfect third man to step onstage with Andy Falkous and Jack Eggleston, both of whom survived the wreckage of Mclusky, the hardest rocking band of the past decade.

Falkous is a fury onstage, singing, screaming, constantly switching off between keyboards and guitar, and destroying would-be hecklers with withering sarcasm. Eggleston beats his drumkit like a heavyweight prizefighter, wearing a maniacal smile all the while. Mathias is brutally physical bass player with enormous stage presence. He has a lethally quick and wicked sense of humor and a voice that was a perfect match for Falkous. So when Mathias announced his departure, it seemed like the end of another highly-combustible rock and roll band, for real.

But maybe not, if Polymers Are Forever is any indication. Eggleston is still there, hammering away, and Falkous’ writing is as sharp as ever. And it’s Falkous, and his brain, and his vision that really matters. The music of Mclusky and Future Of The Left 0.1 and 0.2 always begins with him. New guitarist Jimmy Watkins is, according to early reports, a madman, and new bassist Julia Ruzicka plays sharp and tight. What remains to be seen is how effective Ruzicka works onstage. FOTL shows are awash in testosterone, and adding a female to that dynamic should be interesting.

Polymers Are Forever is a six-track eepee that starts up with the title track, an oddly paced number driven by a loud but brittle-sounding electric keyboard, and Falkous, flipping back and forth from rabid to passive about bags of stones at the bottom of the ocean. It feels incomplete, but its pure weirdness makes it worthwhile. Better is With Apologies To Emily Pankhurst, where Falkous casts himself as a corrosive boor who likely has never heard of the British suffragette.

With classic Mcluskian chaos erupting all around him, Falkous quickly digs down to the root of all misogyny (“I fear most women like I fear tomorrow, absolutely”) drags his European neighbors into it (“I can’t let something as French as fear determine this insecurity”) and delivers a knockout with the best line Mick Jagger never wrote about himself (“a full-length mirror – the greatest love a man could ever know”).

The rest of Polymers Are Forever runs from great to merely ok. “New Adventures” bundles up all the things I love most about Falkous’ songs. If you were to play the melody on a piano, you’d have something that would sound a lot like a buoyant, Broadway tap dance ditty, but because the band plays everything loud, and because Falkous goes from an elegant vocal delivery to a spitting rampage by the end of the track, it is instead a uniquely melodious slab of noise rock. “New Adventures” also features the best line of the eepee: “She had her father’s laugh, but not his smoker’s cough, it must have been the lack of tar in heroin.”

So here’s the news… there are some great Falkous songs on this eepee, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot has changed, and the forthcoming elpee The Plot Against Common Sense should be a monster, as usual.

Categories: Rock, Stripwax

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us