Earlier this year, Falco, lead singer of Welsh trio Future Of The Left, posted on MySpace about the band's second studio album Travels With Myself And Another. ''It's 33 minutes long'' he wrote, ''and to use the vernacular, it's ******* skill''. He's not wrong.
Rock can be so dirgey, so downright self-righteous. Future Of The Left are resoundingly not. The new disc is produced by Richard Jackson, who was at the helm for their debut Curses in 2007. He seems to have a natural affinity with Falco, bassist Kelson Matthias and drummer Jack Egglestone - together they've produced a work of near genius.
It's difficult to pick highlights, as the album is flooded with them. First single, The Hope That House Built has a sexy guitar/drumstick start leading to a catchy-as-hell radio friendly invitation to, ''come join, come join, our hopeless cause''. It's as if Green Day finally decided to stop taking themselves so damned seriously.
Throwing Bricks At Trains is a fantastical dark anthem for disenchanted youth, while Land Of My Formers has a rip-roaring melody that belongs in a computer game. From there we stray into properly loopy territory: Stand By Your Manatee is an ode to Emma, hideously shamed by her parents' use of plastic forks.
You Need Satan More Than He Needs You, a hilarious skit on the inner worries of a Satanist, has possibly the most gloriously weird opening line in rock: ''God damn it's gonna rain, I only brought my socks'. Its anthemic chorus deserves to be shouted by festival crowds all summer long.
If there is a criticism, it's that Falco's vocals sometimes stray too far into screechy rawk territory, which is a shame as when he actually sings (or talks) the end product is most enjoyable. But it's a small negative on an album of mostly sheer fabulousness.
Take album closer Lapsed Catholics and its gobsmackingly brilliant lyrics. ''Morgan Freeman would roll over in his grave if he were dead, which he nearly was if you believe the hysterical gung ho technicolour c***fest that is Sky News or Murdoch Live or whatever the hell the devil calls himself''. Breathtaking. What's not to love? --Sophie Bruce
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