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 mostly built around frontman Andrew Falkous and his direct, biting commentary/lyricism. The music is sharp-toothed and forceful and, when the band drops a new release, the question isn’t so much “how have they evolved,” rather “who are his targets this time around?”
The Plot Against Common Sense really doesn’t break new ground for the band. After the promise of last year’s teaser EP, Polymers Are Forever (the titular track is included on this release), many of the songs feel a bit flat. Falkous’ snide lyrics have always been at the center of the band, playfully dropped on top of hook-driven hard rock guitars. The negative behind this is that it revolves on the lyrics to define the songs, and it’s a lot harder to capture the momentum required to make a successful 15-song album when the musical variations are pushed to the background. Say whatever you like about his lyrics, but his voice generally doesn’t cover much range and a little bit more focus on the rest of the band would have served the record well. They mix it up on occasion, as in “Beneath the Waves and Ocean” where the murky bass and limited yet precise drumming of Jack Egglestone stands out. The song really finds its rhythm when the louder chorus comes crashing in over the calmer backdrop, much akin to an actual wave sweeping into the bay. Other songs that offer a bit of variation are “Cosmos’s Ladder” with some spooky keys (and great lyrics), and “Goals in Slow Motion” which pulls in a 1980s post-punk vibe and Falkous stretches his voice closer to singing instead of his usual scowls. Opener “Sheena Is a T-shirt Salesman,” even brings in some hardcore-style screaming.
As for the more familiar, big-hooks-while-Falkous-does-his-thing songs, “Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop” is a keeper. Sure, the lyrics are a bit uninspired, but that’s sort of the whole point in this example. Likewise with the aforementioned “Beneath the Waves,” in which the repetitive and second-person lyrics of “No way you’re ever going to find peace with the name they gave you,” is memorable and accusatory in a good way and “Sorry Dad, I Was Late for the Riots” is a personal favorite.
With a title like The Plot Against Common Sense, the band may be giving off an Andy Rooney vibe, but really the entire message of the album is simple: there’s a time to be loud, angry, and to voice your frustrations—it’s not all about artistic freshness and taking things to the next artistic level, rather it can also be about primal and pummeling anger and release. The downside of this is that, with each release, the catalogue tends to sound a little too similar.
7.1 / 10
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. ...
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