REVIEW: Future of the Left – Polymers Are Forever


Formed from the ashes of much-lauded McluskyFuture of the Left had a lot of expectations to live up to initially. With their debut, Curses, in 2007, FOTL didn’t quite meet these steep expectations, although they showed a lot of promise. Most importantly; they still maintained the spirit of the band that came before them, albeit with less of the raw passion. Follow-up, Travels with Myself and Others was a marked improvement on the first record, showing some of Frontman Andy Falkous‘ strongest song-writing to date.

So now we’re left with Polymers are Forever, a 6-track EP which is their first release in just under two and a half years. It is being released on the eve of their third album, The Plot Against Common Sense, due in Feb 2012.

Falkous’s unique way of writing songs is fully on display in this offering, mixing narrative story with darkly humorous lyrical content. it is undoubtedly one of the strongest aspects of Future of the Left’s music. Who knows if the stories told in the lyrics are biographical in nature? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they form some incredibly entertaining  and witty lyrics. No one else writes a song the way that Falkous does.

The EP switches from thunderous, distortion-filled sections and slower, more audible parts at the drop of a hat while maintaining a frantic pace throughout.  Stabbing guitar riffs dominate the majority of the record, mixed with synths that feed into the dynamics. Polymers is as aggressively noisy as you’d come to expect from a band such as this, and wouldn’t sound out of place in Les Savy Fav‘s discography.

Record opener, the titular Polymers Are Forever, sets the tone for the record with Falkous‘s vocals, distinctive as ever, blending with an intense synth-heavy riff that creates that familiarFuture of the Left sound we know and love. Falkous sounds ferocious on the track, with snarls of “make it eternal / make it exist!” sure to gain a big reaction from the audience in a live setting. The pace doesn’t let up with track 2, with a running time of 1:46, it shows the intensity thatMclusky were famed for and it’s great to see that it remains here.

New Adventures is a surprisingly upbeat midpoint of the album, and a definite highlight. It tells the tale of an unlikely couple in the 70’s, and deals with topics such as drug addiction, alcohol dependency and death in such a jolly manner that you wouldn’t realise without close analysis. This really highlights the genius of the song-writing at hand here, with lyrics such as “her second husband came / and left before the spring / it must have been the season for unhappy drunks / her father had a similar trigger” flowing effortlessly.

Album closer destroywitchurch.com is almost reminiscent of Pulp in the way Falkous uses his vocals in a whispering, spoken-word style to evoke an eerie atmosphere. It is split into three distinctive parts that meld together to give a worthy finish to the song collection.

It’s worth noting that the latter half of the EP consists of demo-versions of the songs; they were not re-recorded for this release. It doesn’t have too much of a negative impact on the EP as a whole, but it’s fair to say that slightly more on a sheen wouldn’t have hurt. The songs are strong enough on their own to not have to rely on production values.

As a return to the scene after a relatively long break, Polymers are Forever shows exactly what the band are all about; it’s a diverse mix of ear-melting guitar/synth work, dark and witty lyricism that you really can’t find elsewhere and infectious melodies. It all falls together to create what is an excellent appetiser for their next offering early next year. Welcome back Future of the Left, you were missed.

8/10
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