Curses! – Future Of The Left, Rd. 2

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Before noise, before “math rock,” there was just rock. Future Of The Left is rising from the ashes of mclusky, one of Wales’ most abrasive bands ever, to grudgingly invite us into their loud, loud world. Against the psychedelic Super Furries and the saccharine Stereophonics, Future ratchets up the guitars, drums, and fury — melody be damned.

Without the Steve Albini production that seemed to define much of mclusky’s sound, Curses! doesn’t hide Andy “Falco” Falcous’ vocals in the mix. His guitar is less distorted, and keyboards even take a starring role on a few tracks, anathema as it sounds to true blue mcluskeyites. Songs like “The Lord Hates a Coward” will hardly surprise diehards, but the record evokes the Fall more than ever. Instead of Mark E. Smith, it is Falco’s snarl that gets transformed by searing guitars into a catchy kind of chaos, half nonsense, half brilliance. On “Manchasm”, Falco sings, “Mark Foley was right / there are no barriers for medicine / Mark Foley was right / there are no barriers for shame,” and as in The Real New Fall LP’s “Sparta”, it makes nearly no sense but feels absolutely spot-on in a way overbaked love songs simply can’t.

Dyed in the wool mcluskeyites may take umbrance at the keyboard melodies of “The Contrarian”, the album’s melting closer, but for those who missed mclusky, Curses! is a step forward in both sound and fury.