Back in 2005 Mclusky and Jarcrew finally came to a halt. Not the most earth-shattering news to some perhaps, but to those with a fondness for music with a sardonic hardcore bent it was tragic in the extreme.
First to emerge from the embers were Jon Chapple's (Mclusky's bassist) Shooting At Unarmed Men and they sated our need for a while, but it wasn't enough. Things are about to change though. Featuring Andy Falkous, Jack Egglestone (both mclusky) and Kelson Mathias (Jarcrew) Future Of The Left are the perfect coming together of Cardiff's favourite sons.
If you've been paying attention recently you'll have some idea what to expect from Future Of The Left, the two singles that preceded this album (Fingers Become Thumbs and adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood) set their stall out firmly and hinted that a cracking album was sure to follow.
Curses doesn't disappoint at all. Opening track The Lord Hates A Coward picks up where mclusky left off on their final album The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire. The familiar sniping Falkous vocal rides roughshod over a pummelling punkoid back drop; it's as if he's never been away.
Fingers Becomes Thumbs opens with a bassline that sounds like it's been rolled in tar and barbed wire while Falco's spidery guitar summons up the friendly ghost of Pixies. Two minutes later you're blown away by the fact that this is a pop song. Dirty and heavy it may well be, but beating in its chest is a twisted heart that pops with a pleasing tune with every pump.
Manchasm is also a little pop gem featuring as it does a perky little keyboard riff that is almost twee. It also sees the return of Falco's obtuse lyricism; apparently "Colin is a pussy/A very pretty pussy" which is nice for Colin. We always loved Falco's way of sticking such statements in the middle of songs, and there are scatterings of similar outbursts throughout the album (somehow sausages on sticks get a mention on the hyperactive and frankly brilliant Wrigley Scott). There's nothing here that tops the former glory of "All of your friends are cunts and your mother is a ballpoint pen thief" but that was always going to be a pretty hard line to top.
Small Bones Small Bodies shows Future Of The Left on top of their game. Proving that a simple riff, solid drums and a climactic ending is all you really need this is a perfect exercise in reductive rock music. It's similar in stature to adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood, a song that positively thunders. Drums have never sounded so cavernous and brutal as they push Falco's basic but brain rattling riff to it's limit.
Closing the album is The Contrarian; Falco gently croons over a tinkling piano. It's a bit of a change of pace (though it's certainly no Lick My Love Pump) and indicates that Future Of The Left have more to them than just perfectly formed punk tunes.
A perfect debut then, and a welcome return to some old friends. Here's to the future.
- Sam Shepherd