Bands that traffic in anger tend to get bogged down in humorless self-righteousness, particularly in that soggy blob of a genre known as “post-hardcore.” That’s because most frontmen aren’t half as smart or funny as McLusky veteran Andy Falkous, the caustic wit who these days spits his sardonic worldview on the sizzling hot rock of Future Of The Left. Making good on the only slightly veiled threats of Curses, the new Travels With Myself And Another finds Falkous’ barbed stories—of fruitless sex, godless existence, and other pointless-yet-unavoidable bullshit—stretched wire-taut, with nary a moment of wasted energy. “Arming Eritrea” sets and immediately detonates the charge, with Falkous screaming his vocal chords into sinewy tatters over the sort of blistering metallic churn that keeps Steve Albini in fancy microphones. The giddily nihilistic “The Hope That House Built” sails on a yo-ho-ho sea-chanty rhythm, with Falkous snarking through one line after another like “Re-imagine God as just a mental illness.” Expounding on its usual pointed, piss-and-vinegar formula, the band even allows a few pretty harmonies on “Throwing Bricks At Trains,” throws the world’s bitterest dance party on “I Am Civil Service,” and turns the heavy-metal sing-along ironically inward with the punishing “You Need Satan More Than He Needs You.” That’s the kind of righteousness we need more of.
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