“Ladies and Gentlemen, Cockneys, Australians . . .” begins The Future of the Left’s live album. And then Andrew Falkous immediately curses the Gods of electricity, who are apparently messing with the band, and then goes after Reverend and the Makers, whose lead singer has a “punchable face,” apparently, which creates “new levels of shit.” After this crude and insulting 2+ minute speech, the band kicks into “Wrigley Scott,” a screaming punk headthrasher easily as good as anything any member of this group has ever performed before.
<a href=http://berkeleyplace.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/the-future-of-the-left-“curses”>Earlier this year</a>, I lamented that I hadn’t discovered Future of the Left’s 2007 debut until this year, so I couldn’t consider it for an album-of-the-year 2008 pick. Then, the band turned around and started selling this live album on their tour. And on top of that, they swung through D.C., where a pal of mine was lucky enough to see them, pick up a copy, and share it with me. Of course, it’s f-in’ great. There’s a lot of banter, some wickedly funny, some too-drunk-to-make-sense, and the constant talking can become distracting. (Who wants to listen to a rap about shoes more than once?) But when they play, they burn, explode, sizzle, fry, and crush everything in their path. And that’s saying something, since this group rose from the ashes of the too-young-to-die Mclusky. (FOTL is basically Mclusky with bassist Jon Chapple replaced by Hywel Evans, and the addition of Kelson Mathias of Jarcrew.)
The tour-de-force is the 9+ minute long punk jam “Cloak and Dagger,” which goes on and on without any sign of stopping until it just deconstructs, bit by bit, until all that’s left is a moan on an overmodulated mike and some audience clapping. It’s exactly what live albums should sound like: Different from what you’d get in the studio, with the band interacting and reacting to the audience, so that the audience becomes integral.
If you’re lucky enough to get this at a show, or smart enough to buy it via the internet, you’ll find yourself in the proud possession of one of the best albums of 2008. Congrats!