Album Review: Future of the Left-How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident

ImageFuture of the Left are the kind of band that both crush your mind like a trash compactor, and make you a smarter person for it. Listening to Falco’s lyrics is like reading poetry from an anarchist Shakespeare, or Jim Goad. It’s offensive, obtuse and in case you didn’t get it the first time,really fucking offensive. But at the same time, one feels like they are compelled to agree with Falco, maybe through sheer charisma, maybe through the black comedy, maybe because he’s actually right about all the stuff that he talks about. And he does talk about a lot. In ‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ alone, Future of the Left take aim at religion, capitalism, record company greed, contemporary culture, superficiality, big business, sexuality, the traditional male stereotype….the list goes on. For some, it might seem like an exhausting task to write down even a few of the things that piss you off, but for Future of the Left, it’s just business as usual. And in case there wasn’t enough irony already, Future of the Left are really fucking good at business.

‘How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ is easily Future of the Left’s best record, and that is quite an accomplishment. For a band renowned for creating some of the most ear-shredding material available to man, to go from blistering track to blistering track, and still retain a genuinely diverse sound, Future of the Left surely have outdone themselves. Songs on the record exchange moments like Justin Timberlake exchanges blowjobs for singles, switching from the bitter, to the cynical, to the forlorn and enraged. Moving between tracks feels like falling down a giant funnel, going from a wide open idea previously, and suddenly being shoved through a tight, compressed space that you have to get used to all over again. It’s a disconcerting experience, but it’s unique and unconventional, something Future of the Left have always been, but never to this degree of power.

The first four songs of this album are better than any pop-punk band with a number tacked onto the end of their name could wet-dream of. Individually, these songs are bombastic, but together, they form a bond more powerful than the kids in Captain Planet. ‘Bread, Cheese, Bow & Arrow’ makes like Satan gargling rocks, a determinedly evil song that combines a stop-start belting with Falco’s vocal switching between Hannibal-the-Cannibal-pyschoanalysis and the grunt of a serial killer before he brings an axe down on your head. The follow-up ‘Johhny Borrell Afterlife’ is a thinly-veiled tearing apart of Johnny Borrell and his big head (literally), the frontman from Razorlight who sold an astonishing 594 copies of his debut solo record. However, the song also stands for all the bullshit, private school self-indulgence that most have come to observe as one of the most disdainful things in the universe. ‘Future Child Embarrassment Matrix’ announces itself with little subtlety, a maelstrom of instruments and the screaming of ‘Her cock is so hard! Her aim is true! I hear that when she comes, she comes enough for two!’. Now that, that’s fucking poetry. Oscar Wilde would probably stop his post-death gay orgy to shed a tear or two. The fourth and final song to make your head dissipate all the shit it’s been fed as of late is ‘The Male Gaze’, a song that shifts from Future of the Left beating the listener to an enjoyable death, to a slightly less bash-worthy track. There’s still the intensity there of staring down Mike Tyson from a distance of five metres, but there’s a little less anger, even a couple ooo’s in there. Don’t be confused and think this is a doo-woop, because there’s still a hefty criticism of the traditional male form, but it was nice of the band to slow down the onslaught for just a second right?

Although the first four tracks are on the same level of awesome as having Sid Vicious resurrected for a day and watching him indulge in all the new drugs that have been invented since the 80’s, the shining moment comes in the form of a monologue. Yes, a monologue, like the one’s in plays n shit, but this isn’t your average high school production. And if it was, I would pay endless amounts of money to gain access to such a play. ‘Singing of the Bonesaws’ is  a vicious, cut-throat dissection of popular culture and the music industry, and its a no holds barred cage match of the most brutal proportions. All kinds of weird and fucked up metaphors are put on display here, but hands down the favourite is MTV’s newest show, which is Kim Kardashian being chased by a bear that…I don’t want to ruin it for you, because the execution of it is too awesome, but let’s just say everyone dies a very graphic death.

Hopefully, the scope of how fucking great of an album Future of the Left have made is coming to fruition in your mind, as the rest of the album progresses in the unhinged manner so sophisticatedly barbaric. I won’t go into it, but every song is as demonic and curse’d to fuck with your conception of normality as the previous tracks I have described. ‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ is the best Future of the Left album because it never slows, never apologises and never regrets a single thing it does, no matter how gruesome, disgusting and politically incorrect one can get. For those that think Arcade Fire deserve to be ruined by hellfire every time they play, and have the smell of shit poison their nostrils every time they speak, this album is for you.

‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ will be available on October 25th, through Remote Control and Prescriptions Music, the band’s own label.

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Album Review: POND-Hobo Rocket

ImageThis is the album that I have been waiting with baited breath for, for quite some time as well. POND, for those that don’t keep up with Perth’s psychedelic scene with the precision of myself (shame on you, lift your fucking game), are a collective of musicians that are all linked by their unabated prowess at rockin’ dicks off, and blowing minds. POND is made up of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry, and Cam Avery. Because I don’t think I’ll be able to drop it in later, here’s a bunch of the other bands that these guys play in, which are more worth checking out than that new Seth Rogen movie: Allbrook/Avery, The Growl, Shiny Joe Ryan, Mink Mussel Creek, Gum, and The Silents. I hear Nick Allbrook’s solo shit is also worth a geez. Anyway, BACK TO THE HOBO ROCKET-CAVE!

‘Hobo Rocket’ is everything you could want in a loud, friendly, abrasive, grinding psychedelic album. It’s more forward thinking than ‘Bitches Brew’. Yes, I just compared a explosion of pysch flavour and colour to a jazz magnum opus, widely considered to being a landmark in musical revolution. So, maybe I could perhaps be overstating the importance of ‘Hobo Rocket’. However, I will firmly stick by the statement that it is one of the most important rock records released this year, and one of the best records released in recent Australian music history. Better even than the two Tame Impala records. Yes, in my eyes, POND have succeeded the role of little brother to Kevin Parker, and graduated to the top of the pile. A bold claim, sure to confuse, if not anger plenty of people. But hear me the fuck out you enthusiasts of the righteous pysch, as I lay down a few reasons why ‘Hobo Rocket’ might just be the coolest thing to hit your ears in a long time.

Everything on ‘Hobo Rocket’ is executed with a total unabashed flourish, and gnarly pomp. It’s a gruelling, gruesome and gargantuan visitation through time, the sounds on display warping and freaking out with vicious continuous griping. It’s a record that never stumbles, only focused on being as loose and insane as it possible can. It swaggers around in a daze of pot smoke and neon lights, shitting where it pleases, and never feeling the need to apologise or explain itself. It’s straight up fucking glorious, and the best part is, it doesn’t even try a bit. Its the king of the castle, and the dirty rascal, and, to quote ‘O Dharma’, ‘…and if you motherfuckers don’t like it, you can get out’. (mark my words, this will be the next ‘Mind Mischief’, only cooler)

Now, analysis time. I’m sure you’ve already heard the glory of ‘Giant Tortoise’, the lead single from ‘Giant Tortoise’ that came out a couple months back, and if you haven’t…have you been living under a rock, man? The fuzz and massive power is put to the test, and it succeeds in every way possible. Storming riffs marching their way to victory, Pink Floyd intersecting Black Sabbath in the middle of a orange-tinged cocaine binge. It rhymes, therefore it must be true. If ‘Giant Tortoise’ is old news for you, then you’ll hopefully know about ‘Hobo Rocket’s’ other single ‘Xanman’ as well, which is David Bowie on crack. With the amount of explosive jazz hands that spring to mind when listening to ‘Xanman’, its what I imagine Hunter S. Thompson would perform if he went to Mardis Gras. ‘Xanman’ is the kind of track you want to play on your 30th birthday when Jim Carrey explodes out of a cake, and does a strip-tease with his neck. By the way, somebody make that happen. Somebody make that happen now.

The weird names and boggle-eyed sounds don’t stop at the pre-released single though. Album opener ‘Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide’ answers its own question, a firecracker and a half that alights everything you thought you knew about psychedelic music with a vengeance. ‘Aloneaflameaflower’ brings things down after a hefty 15 minutes of junkie fuelled pysch excitement, and the weird and wonderful introspection of POND is put on full display. The title track shows the kind of fucked up sense of humour and skewed taste of the band; a drunken, gargled rambling delivered by the Aussiest cowboy ever, accompanied by the sounds of Satan throwing up after a big night out. Oh, and the closer, ‘Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone)? That’s where shit goes from transcendental music, to something that shifts more than the plot of Lost. It transforms time after time, jumping from drumming hellfire and demon-possesed molten guitar, to wet and pleading Albrook-ian deliverance. It may just be the best anti-ballad ever written.

POND have cemented their place as Australia’s cool-as-shit band. If mid-80’s Jean Claude Van Damme listened to music, it would be this. Agonisingly enjoyable, pulling you in every direction like an execution of the senses. I can only reiterate that ‘Hobo Rocket’ is probably the most important release of this year, and that this review most definitely does not do it justice. 7 songs, 5 members, infinite amounts of drug-induced jam sessions, and 1 thick, juicy record. Go and fucking buy ‘Hobo Rocket’, the future of music depends on it.

If you liked POND, and pysch, you might dig this essay I wrote about the topic, called ‘What the Fuck Is Psychedelic Music?’. It’s better than burnt brownies, which is to say it’s not that great. POND haven’t announced any tour dates yet, but my money’s on Homebake and Falls.