Friday, December 27, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 1

1 Future Of The Left - How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
They were always bound to make an STN album of the year one day, but in the rest of the land FOTL seem to have become so much more famous for Andy Falkous' extra-curricularisms - that piracy blog, that Pitchfork retort, his interviews and between-song comments generally - that it increasingly seemed their music is going unrewarded. Their fourth album appears to have noticed and summarily turned up the dials, ramped up the abrasion and transformed into a jackhammer. The usual motifs are all there - the scalpel-sharp gritted teeth humour, the collective musical drill to the senses - but with Jimmy Watkins now thoroughly inducted into the newly rejigged line-up - Julia Ruzicka's rolling basslines have found a way of ramping up the approaching menace even further - the acidic guitars are meatier and spikier than they have been for a while, rolling with the punches, coiling before unloading the tension with a post-hardcore zeal. If Falco's lyrics are still the real USP his vocals are becoming more adaptable to fit, channelling his demons into something that wouldn't qualify for restraint in most. And while most songs head direct for the cerebral cortex, the always present temptation/risk to extend beyond the self-imposed boundaries into whatever comes to hand is more prevalent without sacrificing the overall image. There's an eccentrically satirical four and a half minutes of barely hinged laser precision vituperation voiced in an approximation of RP. There's a sub-two minute Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues-like assault with a kazoo chorus. There's a couple of songs that are virtually slow-paced. There are, of course, lines that don't appear anywhere else in rock's lexicon, simultaneously funny (Falco cites Half Man Half Biscuit as a key influence) and brutal, sarcastic and relatable, as suits the target. As social satire bludgeons with post-Albini guitars set to maim they've always been out there on their own; now they've reset their goals, reset their targets and fired themselves into the sun.

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