Future of the Left
Travels With Myself And Another


5.0
classic

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 24th, 2009 | 123 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Straightforward in its approach and endlessly listenable, "Travels with Myself and Another" is without any trace of doubt the most refreshing noise rock release of the year.

Future Of The Left is where two-thirds of the cult Welsh band, McLusky picked up after the group’s breakup. Singer/guitarist Andy “Falco” Falkous and drummer Jack Eggleston are back along with the new member Kelson Mathias (Jarcrew), who shares singing and bass/synth duties with Falco. "Travels With Myself and Another" is their second full-length album following shamefully underappreciated "Curses". While "Curses" can be regarded as a transient effort shifting between a noise rock of McLusky and the new groovier and more melodic approach, "Travels..." clearly defines the style of the band. Make no mistake about it. This is still angry rock, yet the band's considerable skills in blending pop hooks with an uncompromising vision and a sick sense of humor are prominent here.

This is an extremely tight record. Barely hitting 33-minute mark, the album contains 12 tracks with not even one filler or a single redundant note. Most frequently, the traditional song structure is broken at the expense of more trippy, surprising songwriting taking the listener to the most unexpected places. Take the opener "Arming Eritrea" in which a catchy chant backed by killer rhythm section builds to an anthemic climax. In "Chin Music" heavily distorted bass riff works as a driving force. Often, the drums are so mechanically precise that one has a feeling that they're listening to a demented rock military band. Contrary to the rhythm section, the guitarwork is simple, yet always well-harmonized and crunchy throughout. A muscualr riff in "I Am Civil Service" serves as the best example. Falco's affection for synths is also distinctive, providing many unconventional tonal shifts (playful "Yin/Post-Yin"). The use of synths might not be noticeable right away as they are as heavily overdriven as guitars. Still, they help to create the thick wall of sound in such amazing offbeat masterworks as "Throwing Bricks at Trains" and "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You".

What separates "Travels..." from Future Of The Left's peers is the use of obscenly catchy vocal harmonies. Falco experiments with them to a greater extent, implementing seemingly awkward vocal lines that superbly interact with intense screaming even in the loudest songs. This is where the power of this album lies. The efficient harsh playing combined with a great sense of melody make for an incredibly addictive listen. There are even moments that hearken back to traditional rock'n'roll with their danceable grooves.

Future Of The Left have never taken themselves too seriously. Andy Falkous has a constant desire to entertain listeners. Never infantile, his lyrics are often silly relying on the abstract type of humour and clever wordplay. Drolling "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You" is the highllight featuring lyrics about a Satan worshipper struggling with prosaic things like hiring a proper babysitter or finding love in the hilarious line "what kind of orgy leaves a sense of deeper love". Falco is also very observant and ironic singing such lines as: "There must be a logic behind a madness, if it's financial then it's deeply flawed" in the shrewd critique of corporate thinking of "The Damned Fly". Sometimes, he even gets profound as the ending of "Throwing Bricks at Trains" signifies: "The bricks, they are just sad reminders of former glories, though they are barely more than stories ..."

Falco and Co. prove that it's possible to depend on the old noise rock patterns without sacrificing identity or sounding generic. Straightforward in its approach and endlessly listenable, "Travels with Myself and Another" is without any trace of doubt the most refreshing rock release of the year. It's exciting, unapologetic, ballsy and most of all fearlessly mad. It's all meat and no bones.



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user ratings (159)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
bodiesinflight57
July 24th 2009


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I WAS GONNA REVIEW THIS!

Never mind, great album, great review too

only criticism: FOTL are NOT a post-hardcore band

Youwithoutme
July 24th 2009


301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They are noise rock right?

Anyway album is amazing this is still hanging between a 4 and a 4.5. Good review.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks. This is my first music review.

I agree this is a noise rock record, but I think it's also post-hardcore or post-punk. Post-hardcore is just much broader term. Basically noise rock is so heavily influenced by hardcore/punk that you can call it that way as well. I'm not alone in this conviction. For example, All Music Guide reviewer wrote: "...they're a band that can keep post-hardcore exciting with righteous anger and merciless wit."

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

bodiesinflight57
July 24th 2009


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All Music Guide reviewer wrote
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All Music know absolutely nothing about genres

It's not a massive, massive error but FOTL are totally different to the majority of post-hardcore bands and therefore I don't think it's right to classify them as such

and I didnae realise this was a first review...really, really good for a first one!

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well. I've only cited these words as an example. There are many reviews I've read that openly claim this is post-hardcore or post-punk. I personally think that's much more accurate than saying this is alt rock like many sources state. It's much closer to Tad or Melvins than, let's say, Radiohead.

Yep. I've written many movie reviews, but this is my first time reviewing music. I find it much harder than reviewing films.

This band deserves much more recognition than it gets on this site and many other media. It's strange because critics love this record. It has, I guess, 85/100 on metacritic which ranks it in the top 10 albums of 2009.

bodiesinflight57
July 24th 2009


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, they do deserve more recognition...awesome live band as well

Youwithoutme
July 24th 2009


301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're debut is also awesome but I like this more.

ironzeppelin789
July 24th 2009


133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album is amzazing too bad people don't know about. Also they were awesome at Siren.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 21st 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Gosh. I wish I saw them live. Such an amazing band. Still, I don't know if this one is better than their debut "Curses".

Zorg
August 24th 2009


65 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album of the year.

Zorg
August 24th 2009


65 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review as well.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Glad somebody agrees. This band slays. Thanks a lot.

jredmond
September 2nd 2009


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this sounds awesome

jredmond
September 2nd 2009


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is awesome

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Only a 4/5. You can do better. Check out their first album as well.

jredmond
September 7th 2009


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea this is def a grower. as does my bohner for this album.

jredmond
September 16th 2009


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i really dont see how this is noise rock.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2009


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I guess post-punk is the most accurate description of this band. Noise rock also fits well if you ask me. Alt rock is a very broad genre to which every second rock album fits pretty well. So, this term doesn't describe the actual music at all.

chappay
September 20th 2009


2 Comments


addictive.

Anguish
September 28th 2009


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing. Possibly one of the best sophomore releases from anyone yet. Ballsy and avant garde.



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