Future of the Left
- Doug Johnstone
- 14 August 2008
The sardonic hardcore genius of Mclusky is no more, but Future of the Left still have the talent for a choice turn of phrase, finds Doug Johnstone
You can’t beat a good song title, and Future of the Left have some of the best. The Cardiff based trio’s second single was the thrillingly angry rock of ‘adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood’, and the band’s debut album Curses was peppered with other gems such as ‘Fuck the Countryside Alliance’ and ‘I Need to Know How to Kill a Cat’.
But then, for those in the know, this penchant for quirky titles is no surprise. Both singer and guitarist Andy Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone are former members of Mclusky, the defunct Welsh threesome with a substantial cult fanbase who knocked out albums with titles such as My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful than Yours and The Difference Between Me and You is that I’m Not on Fire.
‘Some bands split up because of musical differences, Mclusky split up because of differences,’ says Falkous. ‘There’s meanness and there’s unbridled bitterness, but that would be a fair and accurate reflection of where all the hard work and love came from. I realise that sounds far too glib and convenient but it also happens to be true.’
The Future of the Left line up is completed by singer and bassist Kelson Mathias, formerly of Welsh underground prog-rockers Jarcrew. While the band’s format is similar to Mclusky, there is something more experimental and expansive about Future of the Left’s debut compared with the one-dimensional headfuck rock of Falkous’s former outfit. The frontman is under no illusion about where his current fanbase comes from, but hopes to change perceptions.
‘The whole Mclusky thing is both a help and a hindrance,’ he says. ‘We had a loyal following but we’d been around for so long there was a ceiling of expectation we’d reached. It’s more than understandable that people mention Mclusky with respect to this band, but after we’ve done another record, if they’re still talking about Mclusky then there’s a problem.’
That’s unlikely to happen, as Future of the Left are moving forward. Not content with the traditional three-piece rock sound, the band have been experimenting with keyboards, although Falkous is reluctant to give such dabblings too much weight.
‘I would hesitate to say I have keyboard skills, it’s very basic,’ he laughs. ‘The second you learn to play a keyboard properly is the second it’s effectively broken. Certainly for the kind of music I like, I like a very primal approach to an instrument, you should still be able to play it in time and be able to hear where it fits the song, but too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it comes to something as basic and emotive as music. That’s just my opinion.’
Falkous and co have garnered a rather unfair reputation in some quarters as being difficult and darkly weird, which is strange when you experience just how much unbridled fun goes into their live shows. ‘For some bands playing live is a catharsis, but not for us, it’s a joy,’ he says. ‘Obviously the records are imbued with a certain dark humour, but that’s just part of our personality, mine in particular. It’s sad when a band can’t show their full range of character, rather than writing in a one-dimensional way about girls, without being labelled a certain way.’
Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Fri 15 Aug.