Album Reviews - Reviews

Future of the Left – How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident


I think it’s fair to say that every now and then a person like Future of the Left frontman Andy Falkous is needed. He’s a man whose piss and vinegar vitriolic diatribes would fit comfortably with the George Carlins, Lenny Bruces, Charlie Brookers and Bill Hickses of the world. These are people who can stare into the unending abyss that we know as culture, see the gunk that halts the gears of progression and report back to us with details of the horrors from the underbelly that are steadily herding us toward the trappings of insanity, idiocy and incompetence. Plus they’re really fucking funny. For the last 12 years or so, Falkous has been spitting our dark hearts right back in our faces in a gleefully upsetting manner which culminated in last year’s balls to the wall masterpiece Plot Against Common Sense. Leaving themselves almost no breathing room, the band have already provided us with the follow up, How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident and, needless to say, it’s a deserving follow-up.

It’s important to establish that Falkous’ bark nor his bite have diminished in between these two albums, but his focus has shifted somewhat. While no song as outright hilarious as the likes of last year’s Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop, the album is still consistently funny. The real highlight being the free form, psychedelic, culture fuck that is Singing of the Bonesaws, which doesn’t so much as critique popular culture as eviscerate it and leave the corpse hanging out for all to see. With this said though, there are hints of tenderness, genuine sadness and pathos skirting just around the edges of tracks such as French Lessons and She Get’s Passed Around At Parties. The darkness, humour and cynicism are always there, but, as it should be, it sometimes gives way to a little bit of light.

Musically, the album has a slightly schizophrenic bent, oscillating between vaguely poppy melodies and harmonies and Shellac inspired noise so dissonant and powerful that grind it could testicles into dust. Yet despite these jarring shifts in tone and mood, the songs simply work. The conflict between these two styles and their successful integration elevates the song to new heights. This fact also highlights one of the band’s great strengths: knowing exactly when the music needs to shift. It’s the case across the entire album that, just as a specific movement of a song is beginning to drag, the band changes the structure without hesitation and kicks new life into the proceedings. The increased experimentation, as seen with the likes of the unsettling Something Happened, is a very welcome addition. As is the increased role of bassist Julia Ruzicka whose excellent finger work adds a great deal of texture to the items on display. What lets the album down, albeit only slightly, is the lack of synthesizers; in the past, they’ve featured prominently and their absence can be felt.

There is no denying that this is a truly great album. With top notch lyricism, brilliant musicianship and finely crafted songs, this is a frontrunner for album of the year. Let Falkous and friends take you for an intense and rip-roaring ride. Just buy the damn thing. Will Murphy