- by Andy Brown Release Date:2012-06-11 Label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Following on from last year's Polymers are Forever EP, Future of the Left return with their first full album of new material since 2009s Travel's With Myself and Another. Andy 'Falco' Falkous has, of course, been making first-rate noise rock since the heady days of the mighty Mclusky - a bafflingly underrated band. Future of the Left have continued in a similar vein; becoming another gem of a cult band since 2007s mentally brilliant Curses! album. Gaining more devoted followers with each release, it's fair to say that FOTL fans have been eagerly awaiting The Plot Against Common Sense.
'Sheena is a T-Shirt Salesman' opens the album in traditional FOTL style with two minutes of serrated guitars and unhinged vocals. Falco has always had a way with words and he's not lost his touch here as he dedicates the song to the manufacturers "Who made it possible with their hard work, talent, application and love of tote bags". 'Failed Olympic Bid' takes a sarcastic look at the Olympics as Falco sings "A failed Olympic bid leaves some kids so upset they can't forget". The music is a furiously mangled wall of wailing keyboards and motorik guitars; a classic slice of insanity from Falco's unique take on rock 'n' roll.
'Beneath the Waves an Ocean' marries an intense bass line to an almost anthemic chorus before 'Cosmo's Ladder' comes on like a particularly odd track on 60s garage rock compilation Nuggets. There are not many misses on the album but 'City of Exploded Children' would be a lot better if it didn't bear more than passing resemblance to 'Fuck the Countryside Alliance' from their debut.
'Goals in Slow Motion' does upbeat punk rock with a FOTL twist; there are some surprisingly sweet harmonies from the band too. 'Camp Cappuccino' is gloriously ridiculous with some first-class surreal lyricism from Falco: "We could build a helipad and make a lot of money". No, I have no idea what he's on about but it sounds great.
'Polymers are Forever' still sounds brilliant while 'Robocop 4- Fuck Off Robocop' is an angry rant about rubbish sequels that seemingly exist to pay for Michael Bay to have a bigger house. It sums up a lot about the FOTL mindset when Falco screams "Art!? Hahaha Where you from? Where you been?" The wonderfully titled 'Sorry Dad, I Was Late for the Riots' has some great lyrics too as they sing, "Sorry Dad, I'm aware of the irony but you know my trust-fund runs to 2025 no matter what I doâ€¦" In an odd way the closest band lyrically to Falco's angry/surreal/blackly funny lyrics would be Half Man Half Biscuit. HMHB don't make this much noise though.
'I Am the Least of Your Problems' is a 100mph slab of punk rock while 'A Guide to Men' is a menacing, psychedelic marching song with Falco singing, "This is a song about total war". The song builds and builds and is one of the most startling tracks here. 'Anchor' makes sure the intensity doesn't let up before 'Rubber Animals' brings the 60s garage rock vibes and lyrics about children's toys.
Just as Travels with Myself and Another ended with the insanely brilliant epic 'Lapsed Catholics', this album ends with the awe-inspiringly huge 'Notes on Achieving Orbit'. It's an intensely exciting song with Falco telling the kids how it really is: "Girls Aloud were the new Nirvana then any old shit was the new Nirvana". It's undeniably one of the finest things they've done.
Overall, The Plot against Common Sense is a solid return and a reassuringly uncompromising listen. The new line-up (Jimmy Watkins and Julia Ruzicka replacing Kelson Mathias) have managed to develop the band's sound without taking away any of the essential FOTL trademarks (the screaming, the weird lyrics) and Falco certainly hasn't lost any of his edge as a frontman.
While perhaps not being as consistently awesome as Curses! (The best things Falco's ever done in my humble opinion), The Plot against Common Sense is still streets ahead of its contemporaries. FOTL don't really take other bands and trends into consideration, sticking valiantly to their own unique vision and continuing their fight against mediocrity. It's good to have you back, Mr Falkous.