From what I gather, I’m supposed to love Andy Falkous and his body of work. For a man who talks so much shit, he sure has a lot of admirers. But, whatever…I’m reviewing Polymers Are Forever here, not writing as essay on ego worship. This EP is the latest from his post-Mclusky group, and something of a teaser for an upcoming 2012 release. Personally, I haven’t given the band much of a listen since 2007’s Curses, and this record shows a marked improvement.
The first thing that stands out is how the band has grown. The songwriting has deeper textures and more variance, and the synthesizers flesh out the tunes by complementing the guitar instead of sounding gimmicky. Curses felt like a vehicle for Falkous to deliver his witty banter more than a musical experience. Here, the songs jump in styles, from the swinging beat of “With Apologies to Emily Pankhurst” to the drawn out “destroywhitchurch.com,” the band is bringing new styles to the table—something much needed to expand their sound beyond the lyrics.
Falkous’ lyrics are known for their directness. They blend anger, insult, and wit to mix humor with sociological observation. What makes them distinct is largely his direct voice, delivering lines in a “tell it like it is” simple sentence structure that speaks directly to the listener. On their earlier release, this distracted from the music. On Polymers the sound had expanded and the variations in rhythm pull everything together. There’s still an unmistakable mocking tone from Falkous, but the music carries the songs instead of the other way around. “New Adventures” rounds out what would be a stellar Side A if this were available on vinyl, starting with a sloppy Muppets-style “ba da da” that segues into a bouncy rhythm that repeats itself New Wave-style, only the guitar carries the song instead of the synth. Really, the highlight is With Apologies to Emily Pankhurst.”
Unfortunately, “Side B” can’t live up to the first three songs. “My Wife Is Unhappy” and “Dry Hate” (both extremely positive titles) are solid enough songs, but they feel a little more stock Future of the Left and less adventurous or memorable. The final song, “destroywhitchurch.com” is a noble experiment that drags out for nearly six minutes but never establishes any firm, interesting tone. Overall, this is a solid EP, but it functions more as a teaser than anything else, ending quickly without making a strong lasting impression after the first few tracks.
7.0 / 10
The Future of the Left may have released their third full-length in The Plot Against Common Sense but little has changed in terms of band definition. The songs here are ...
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