Future of the Left
How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
October 20th, 2013 | 64 replies | 13,259 views


Release Date: 10/21/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hilarity ensues on the fourth album from noise rock originals.

When inquired about the abundance of humour in his body of work, Future Of The Left's leader Andy Falkous stated that it's simply the result of “the personality of the band coming through naturally,” nailing what makes his outfit so unique in the first place. While other current acts are too worried about the constraints of rock music to exhibit their true selves, the Welsh four-piece delve head first into their preferences, fears and obsessions, revealing a hefty dose of bitter sarcasm in the process. This unrestrained approach expectedly propels the content of their fourth full-length How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident. It's no mistake that one of the record's most biting tracks 'Singing Of The Bonesaws' starts with the line “the music industry is lying to you” before skewering listeners for “confusing excitement with the fear of missing out.” What later on transforms into a hilarious tale featuring Kim Kardashian, a masked bear and self-inflicted ocular injuries is too disjointed to work on any other artist's album. But here it feels right at home amidst the unhinged lyrics of Falkous who once again proves peerless in his no-frills examination of popular culture. He's an articulate and observant lyricist who refuses to pull any punches.

Given the album has been financed entirely by the group's ardent fans through Pledge campaign, the disillusionment with traditional ways of distributing music takes centre stage in 'How To Spot A Record Company.' Falkous howls “Teenage me is disappointed / in the fucked-up record buying public” in this raucous display of the ongoing frustration that's transcendent due to its blissful departing coda. The frontman doesn't shy away from burning social issues, either. While 'Anchor' from The Plot Against Common Sense was a disarmingly honest take on alcoholism, here the claustrophobic mind-fuck of an arrangement accompanies a trenchant critique of cold marriages in 'She Gets Passed Around At Parties.' “He got married for direction, she got married for the cause / They agreed to find the compromise which somehow didn't suit them both” sings Falkous in devilish falsetto, yet he's also far from mocking his characters completely, finding a dash of empathy in this sad story. The outfit's trademark dark humour is also as prominent as ever. Harking back to the ballad-like 'She Will Only Bring You Happiness' from the last McLusky record, 'French Lessons' showcases the vulnerable side of the quartet with its smoothed-over instrumentation that provides a stark contrast for such hilariously offensive lines as “You could kid yourself that your dreams amount to more than counting backwards from four” and “I’m reading you like a pamphlet that I picked up from an idiot.”

Aside from the lyrics which are even more berserk and eminently quotable this time around, How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident is distinctly Future Of The Left's endeavour music-wise. It's a meticulously crafted collection of tunes calculated for maximum visceral impact. The abrasive brand of noise rock shows further expansion through more extreme and more mellowed-out arrangements in equal measure. 'Future Child Embarrassment Matrix' blends the quartet's signature discordant stabs with detours into funeral doom metal to terrifying effect, while Cop Shoot Cop-echoing 'Things To Say To Friendly Policemen' makes great use of kazoos that only amplify its ferocious outbursts built around the clapped-out rhythm. The outfit's inclination towards hook-laden, danceable tunes makes its presence felt in the Stranglers-influenced 'Donny Of The Decks' and the playful indie pop of 'The Male Gaze' coloured with cookie-cutter backing vocals which somehow don't sound tacky.

Future Of The Left are certainly not afraid of taking risks, perpetually experimenting with new dynamics and textures. Their songs are never formless or overly derivative, though. 'Something Happened' is this album's main curveball that finds the apt line “things are awkward” chanted monotonously over twangy acoustic guitars, hypnotic bass lines, static piano and a random applause track to truly unsettling effect. Almost equally unexpected is closer 'Why Aren't I Going To Hell?' which revives Falcous' beloved vintage synthesizer, Roland Juno-60, to create a spooky atmosphere. This slick spin on Tom Wait's balladry peppered by spaghetti western embellishments interestingly manifests a firm denial of human evil with lines like “I’ve slept with the beasts of the far flung East / I made a pact on my back and it suits me well,” menacingly whispered by the singer.

Not only is Falkous in top form with his broadened vocal palette, but also his collaborators deliver inspired performances. Julia Ruzicka's bass imbues the songs with the snarling low-end and permeating groove, while Jack Egglestone’s pounding drums are inventive without being overly complex. In addition, Jimmy Watkins' hefty broken riffs pepper the album with a crunchy feedback. At this point the second incarnation of Future Of The Left works like a well-oiled machine, displaying enough eclecticism, invention and vitality to make a meaningful, though bleak statement in the stagnant rock music scene. Even more than any of their previous outings How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident bridges the gap between efficient noise rock, whip-smart comedy and timely social commentary. Not enough bands working today attempt to combine these seemingly unrelated realms, which only makes Future Of The Left's output more precious.




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3.8
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other reviews of this album
KeepingDirtClean (4.5)
Noisy rock and quotable lyrics are present and correct in FOTL's latest album as well as few success...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review contains spoilers.

Things To Say To Friendly Policemen:

http://youtu.be/MquXpi4-0v0

And Nick Morley's review for this is also great.

Digging: Floor - Oblation

Gyromania
October 20th 2013



14647 Comments


seriously, this band is so ridiculously consistent

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2013



9469 Comments


Nice review Greg, maybe someday I should actually check these guys out

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2013



6920 Comments


I REALLY need to check this out, their last album was awesome and they were so much fun live.

D41V30N
October 21st 2013



949 Comments


They're really noisy

Geist
October 21st 2013



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The best kind of noisy.

sniper
October 21st 2013



18580 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV8Q5Jam-Wc

actually this is noisy

jefflebowski
October 22nd 2013



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

seeing them in november, to say i'm psyched is a gigantic understatement

Alkemest
October 24th 2013



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Man I just saw this featured and checked it out, my god, the beauty.

EverythingAndLess
October 24th 2013



9 Comments


Saw these guys last year when they were opening for Andrew Jackson Jihad. They were mediocre. Their performance didn't inspire me to look into them any further.

jefflebowski
October 24th 2013



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

we both know that can't possibly be true, they're the best live band i've ever seen

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2013



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their Human Death EP is ace too. Prescriptions, Not Entirely Present and Hey Precious are particularly awesome.

Kman418
October 24th 2013



8567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

god this band is so fucking fun

Digging: Kanye West - Late Registration

LifeAsAChipmunk
October 24th 2013



4854 Comments


kman, u rawk

jefflebowski
October 25th 2013



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

french lessons is easily the most affecting song falco's ever written

SeaAnemone
October 25th 2013



18802 Comments


"Welcome to Soviet Sputnik where the only opinions allowed on my reviews are mine and anytime somebody makes fun of them I will wait 'til the users aren't looking and delete them."

greg84, totalitarian overlord

jefflebowski
October 25th 2013



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^what?

also greg is the human death ep part of the pledge stuff for this? 'cause if so i didn't realize

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes, it is (the remaining stuff from this session)... and it's rad.

Kman418
October 25th 2013



8567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album art is awesome

jefflebowski
October 27th 2013



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

halfway to the hospital, matthew put his clothes on
he didn't want to be that guy who shows up with his balls out



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