For the first half of this decade, whilst the music rags were wetting over themselves over Craig Nicholls’ keraaaaaazy behaviour and overrated New York nonsense, Cardiff’s Mclusky were quietly (or not so in a literal sense) becoming one of the most important bands this island has produced in recent times. The songs were petite in length but brutal in their delivery, lyrics that reeked with wit and intelligence and enough moments to scream along in your bedroom to. Then suddenly at the start of 2005, after three criminally overlooked records and explosive live shows, they packed it in and have become even more of a cult favourite ever since.
Now with ex-Mclusky drummer Jack Egglestone and bassist Kelson Mathias (formerly of Jarcrew, who split at a similar time to Mclusky) Vocalist Andy Falkous has remerged with Future Of The Left, a somewhat more danceable and melodic output but not lacking anything of their unruliness that made Mclusky such a force to be reckoned with. As a side-note, Falkous is also now sporting a full head of hair.
The opening Lord Hates A Coward lays down the gauntlet for what is to follow, the band sounding incredibly tight and Falkous’ vocal delivery as concentrated as it is on record. Plague of Ounces and current single Small Bones Small Bodies are similarly joyous affairs with Mathias struggling to stand still whilst providing the addictive bass-lines in a Shellac vein.
What’s also not missing from the Mclusky era is the onstage banter, which for some was the highlight of the live shows. Following some slight moshing action down the front. Falkous politely requests for the punters down the front to be “nice to each other” – this is greeted with something along the lines of “Get an office job!” from one of the guilty rowdy bunch. If there’s one thing any passing fan of the band will have learnt, it’s to not heckle their lead singer and what follows is the most intense, alarming but still utterly hilarious string of insults I’ve seen directed to an audience member in all of my gig-going time.
“How dare you tell me what to do, I’ll do whatever I like!” he screams, by this point leaning over to the audience and the tension gradually rising. “If I want to work in Gregg’s bakery I will, I’m sure I would serve a cheese baton with considerably more flair than you!” this being one of the more print-friendly comments. Given that Falkous has reportedly had to work in such jobs to bankroll his band’s musical output, this appears to send the vocalist over the edge. It’s a highly awkward moment, but with the audience clearly on his side, he continues to finish the set whilst the red-faced heckler flees for the exit.
It would be a shame for such an incident to overshadow what was a stunning performance and with debut record Curses getting as much praise as it sorely deserves, Future Of The Left have the songs and the attitude to go very far indeed.