Tuesday, May 29, 2012

based on a novel of the same name

A pre-script – rebuttals of unfavourable album reviews are lame, self-serving and immature – this one is no different. Cries of bias, confusion and vanilla lack of taste are every day and I care for them not a fuck. But sometimes, one-times, a man may feel compelled to stand up (or sit, in my case) against what he feels is a great injustice and exhibit his right to reply – well, this is my time and I hope it’s not my last because, to be quite honest, I’ve really enjoyed it. Please read whilst accepting the implicit understanding that any forum-based comments of the nature of ‘if you can’t take the criticism then don’t release the record’ are even more passé than this piece itself which is to say – very passé indeed.

Dear Mr.Cohen

Many things occurred to me on reading your review of the new future of the left record 'the plot against common sense' and I would like to take this opportunity to debate with you some of the points you raise in the piece, although of course by 'debate' I mean 'shut up and listen to me'.

According to the opening line of your review I am 'something of a hero to you'. I would almost be flattered by this sentence if it were not for the level of qualification obliquely provided by the use of 'something' but will choose to skip over the ham-fisted arse-kissing of your opening and move on to deal with some of the more pertinent matters of the day.

Allow me to efuckidate in an easy-to-understand fuck-by-point manner -

As we approach the bottom of your first paragraph you refer to the 'corporate slick production on future of the left's third album' (*1) - a question, my dear friend - would this be the kind of corporate slickness you get through recording an album in 16 days (using the same methods as ever) over a six month period in studio downtime and friend-financed to the tune of £2,000 (whilst we work in temporary jobs and with credit, when available, to support our habit) or instead the kind of corporate-slickness (since, as tone indicates, we’re using the term pejoratively) a person could get from writing for a site which has run the adverts of a variety of corporations, big and small, for many years? I may not be wearing my eyeglasses at this particular moment, but I can definitely see a lovely shiny one sitting atop your review at this very moment.

Oh … it has moving pictorials and everything – quite lovely!
It must indeed be tough to attempt to write from the perspective of the anti-corporate outsider when you are, apart from the mastering engineer (Sean, who did a really good job) probably (*2) the first person involved in the whole process of making and releasing the album to get paid because of it's existence. Following your lead, I’m going to let that one ‘sink in’.

Now we've summed up, albeit with a tenuous nod to reality, the sound of the album, it's probably time to move onto the other aesthetic signifiers of the record in order to establish our burgeoning theorem more thoroughly...

... what about the cover and the goddamn title of The Plot Against Common Sense? What in god's name is the author of "Fuck This Band" doing stealing ideas from unpublished John Stossel books?’

I can only assume that ‘John Stossel’ is the kind of peculiarly North American reference that pervades the reviews which sit about websites of this type, acting as smug and impenetrable signifiers of absolutely nothing at all. I, the ‘author’, googled ‘Mr Stossel’ and can find no absolute evidence of a monopoly of commonsense on his part let alone any indication that he and I could agree that the term has any unified or even loosely defined meaning. I do, however, detect the ascribing to us of the safe, conservative values which are exhibited far more freely within your own work and again, applaud you for attempting to deal with your complicity and guilt in such a public forum.
As for the cover, well, there’s a penguin on it you stupid cunt.
Now, onto the lyrics, as the case for the defense continues.
In short(ish) - it is of incredible interest to me and, indeed, surprise to find out that 'polymers are forever' is about plastic surgery (it isn't - it's about the environmental/marine impact of plastic waste, in a customarily indirect way) that 'anchor' is in some way an unfair fight visited upon Alcoholics Anonymous (it isn't, although you got the word 'alcohol' right(*3)) and that 'a guide to men', is 'another song about pagan orgies' (wrong again, although I can understand the mere use of the word 'orgy' setting off your second grade arousal/memory triggers). Admittedly 'sorry dad, I was late for the riots' IS a song about trustafarian rioters, those fucking rotters, and is a pretty bloody funny Half Man Half Biscuit tribute at that, replete with lyrics that apparently haven't so much gone over your head as clean through it. One out of four correct is a pretty bad return for a writer on a website with so much conscious sway over the opinions of thousands of people – a simple email may have disabused you of some of these assumptions though perhaps would have only led you to other ‘facts’ on which to hang your naked bones.
On 'robocop 4 - fuck off robocop' (incidentally, for the cynical and/or interested reader I post a live video recorded at a guitar shop of the song near the end of this response, complete with full lyrics) we will simply have to agree to disagree. However, if it is truly amongst the worst songs of the year then I am a giant bat and Pitchfork a cave into which I will shit golden effigies of your face.
Sorry - too much ginger beer.
In twelve years of releasing records I have only twice felt compelled to respond, privately in those cases, and was reasonably set on a similarly benign course until two bells (figuratively speaking) resonated in the heart of the sodden internet. Firstly, obviously satisfied with the ebb and cod-ebb of your piece you tweeted a link to the review. In fine repose you sat, and introduced 'I suppose the problem is that most touring funk bands had to get sober'. Well, I see you that and raise you 'I suppose the problem is that Ian Cohen is effectively reviewing an album from ten years ago by a band that no longer exists. His burning nostalgia for a lost teenage love has been replaced by an uncontrollable hatred for her and her new, happy life even though she went to college (Masters in Ancient History, specialising in the early to mid Roman Republic) and grew into those tits like you wouldn't believe. In fact, he hates her so hard (yet helplessly) that he once applied for a Visa card in her name, badly, in order to somehow affect her credit rating and thus deny her the home she had dreamed about for so many years'.
Secondly, and rather more importantly, I was browsing a forum I occasionally visit today, a one filled with gen-u-ine music fans, the kind who wouldn't be easily swayed by invective, praise or otherwise, when I came upon the following quote in a discussion of this review -
'Still looking forward to the album, but some of those lyrics he quotes are pretty shocking. Pitchfork in well written review shocker.'

Influence laid bare, I think. A comment made in good(ish) faith on the basis of two whole quoted lines and several calamitous misinterpretations, which you'll remember that we covered in an earlier, simple module. The opposite of the truth - a construct on which to hang a glib hypothesis. I can honestly say that, whatever you think of the music, that the lyrics on 'the plot against common sense' are the best I've written (and yes - in either band) by a factor of FUCK LOADS(*4). And Ian, I don't address that last sentence to you, I address it to anybody with the good grace and faith to describe themselves as a 'fan' in as much as they trust that we love our band and know exactly what we are doing even when it doesn’t tally exactly with their tastes.
Sadly, (or not as the case may be) I suppose that this group of people does not include you but, hey, we both need to be comfortable with this. I am - are you? It's like we've reached the end of a line, you and I ... a line we walked together when I never even knew that you existed. I'm sorry. I hope you find solace in the ten-year anniversary re-release.
Andrew Falkous
ps. In reference to a couple of songs you say that I can ‘barely muster the effort’, implying, I suppose, that my heart really isn’t in the whole enterprise. Let me assure you, in the strongest possible terms, that it is.
pps. Oh, and I’m sorry that you feel so much regret for buying those Bad Religion records – that’s too bad. Still when the relevance of this tragic tale to our new album crops up, give me a shout, yeah?
ppps. Robocop 4 link up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm1D_Se7sfQ. Lyrics follow below notes.

(*1) always in lower case, mrsupernumberonefan.
(*2) I use the word 'probably' because I only assume that you are paid for your work, such as it is.
(*3) and who in the name of clunking fuck chooses Alcoholics Annonymous as a target? You really must try harder if you want to set me up as your ‘lunkhead’. Try and write more realistic characters, for a start.
(*4) don't be scared to embrace the jargon, kids.

robocop 4 - fuck off robocop

more jaws?
or jaws rebooted?
please - let's take a second to think about a future
of love
and bliss
brought to you by
wish lists
of eight year old boys who only crave explosions
being eight
they have an excuse -
they are eight!
and giant robots cannot distract them from their fate

middle aged men on a movie date
committed to mortal shame

in fact- they left improved
if Michael Bay wants a bigger house, let's help him
where you from?
where you been?
he said -
I went to Cannes once and and really did not have much
being French
they talk too much
and all those pages of subtitles kept getting stuck

1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 3
1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 3

pirates of the caribbean 47
johnny depp stars as the robot pirate
who (loses) his wife in a game of poker
and tries to win her back with hilarious consequences
at least Harry Potter has a proper story
in the sense that the characters crave an ending
if (only) to release poor Billy Corgan
from his role as the titular character's nemesis
robocop 4 is in pre-production
like robocop 3 wasn't bad enough
and George Lucas won't be kicking his heels
til he makes some money from Howard the Duck
robocop 4 is in pre-production
like robocop 3 wasn't bad enough
i hope the projectionist likes his action
motion tracked and medicated

(the first director died)


  1. bwahaha! i fookin 'ate pitchfork...

    1. Thank you for this well thought out response to one of the most depressing by products of our new musical frontier. As our earholes become more clogged with the weight of new music our eye sockets are often lead to someone to help us sift through it all. Sadly some of these people are unqualified to draw conclusions or offer anything of any meaningful value. It is, as it always has been, left to the music fan to make up their own mind. For know, we still have the power of reason and it's important we value it. Especially as individuals and groups seem intent on taking it away. That is why I have just pre-ordered my copy of the album and listened to Sheena... three times in quick succession. All I can think to say is a big thank for your art. For a normal person in a normal job, living a normal life it means so much. Keep going...for us.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I cannot wait to hear the songs. I love your band and I hate most bands.

  4. Nice. Very nice indeed. I wish more music critics out there were as lucid and motivated as your good self.

  5. well played sir - how did he miss the penguin? guess he was just a cunt...

  6. I'm beginning to think bands should pay these twits to trash their album to court the anti-Pitchfork vote. Mainly because I think I've agreed with a whopping total of zero Pitchfork reviews. And they have become even worse since their self-proclaimed editorial shift.

    Anyway, it succeeded, I am officially interested in you guys and will buy your album thanks to Pitchfork. If they hate you, you must be great.

  7. I knew you were Half man half biscuit fan!

  8. The only time I've heard of your band is a blog post on the Manics site, but I found this post through a link at the AVClub website, and if Pitchfork is against you you must be pretty good. I'll check it out.

  9. And this, good sir, is why so many people around the world are such fans of you and your band(s). I cannot wait to listen to the new album.

  10. Anyone contemplating buying this record on the strength (weakness) of that drooling idiot's review: buy it. But until you can, pick up 'Curses' and 'Travels With Myself And Another'. Play them. Loud. They are two of the best records I own. Period.

    Falkous deserves to become the out-of-touch rich asshole that reviewer desperately wants him to be. Let's all help make that happen.

  11. I actually discovered McLusky through Pitchfork. Pitchfork has long since faded in relevance, while Falko burns bright.

    Made my fucking day, this.

  12. love for you. so much love for you.

    Travels IS my favorite albulm. Followed by Curses. Followed by Karnivool or something equally or more Australian.

    But I am going to buy the shit out of this album and my only wish is that I could do it now. or yesterday.

  13. Dear Mr. Falkous. At the risk of being called a fanboi, I love you muchly. So in order not to pass for a fanboi, I'll write this wearing my Ramones t-shirt: thank you.

  14. Can't stop playing this:


    Good work, Falco and Co. Best one yet.

  15. This is exactly why i have respected you and your music for so long Mr. Falkous. Can't wait to buy and hear the new album!

  16. Lame, self-serving and immature? Yeah, kinda.

    Cohen writes more lucidly than Falkous, but Falkous draws attention well to the laziness of Cohen's review. And really, at the end of the day, the laziness of the review is the most unforgivable criticism. Most of Falkous' other points (some that seem a little petulant) could have been left out.

    Falkous 1 - Cohen 0 (just).

  17. Those 'Robocop 4' lyrics are pretty poor by Falkous' standards... and I simply don't agree with the sentiment.

    Nowt wrong with shitloads of explosions in a film. Nowt wrong with sequels and reboots, as long as they're decent (and the Robocop reboot is looking very decent). Films should (and do) serve different purposes, from roller-coaster rides to tender character pieces.

    It's like music - choose the film for the mood you're in. And implying that people who like action films or don't like subtitled films are mental 8 year-olds is borderline offensive and definitely pretentious.

    Besides, if every single film were a worthy, subtitled character piece, I guaran-fucking-tee you you'd be first on your knees, praying to God above for a Michael Bay explosion-fest.

    Can't wait for the album, though.

  18. I've been buying your music since first buying a Mclusky single many moons ago, and have always loved your biting sarcasm and wit. You are totally right that this album contains your best lyrics though and they're your most direct by some way. It's like you've decided that you have too much to say about the world to obfuscate and hide behind ambiguity. It's so rare to hear a rock record that intelligent and valid things to say about society. Hats off to you.

  19. This review just pisses me off and makes me wanna kick him in the twat. FOTL is my favorite band, which was an easy decision to make after the release of the amazing Travels with Myself and Another. I completely disagree with review, in fact love the songs that he is railing on. I believe that the weakest moments of the album come from Camp Cappuccino, Cosmo's Ladder, and the ultra radio rock friendly Goals in Slow Motion. But please do not let these criticisms lead to believe this album is anything but fantastic. I think that Beneath the Waves an Ocean and the absolutely spectacular Notes on Achieving Orbit may be the best songs Andy & Jack have ever taken part in. Amazing job. Amazing Effort. Thank you for your hard work, it shows. I have already pre-ordered my vinyl and can't fucking wait. You have inspired my music more so than any other band and I have nothing but love for FOTL, always will.

  20. Ian Cohen is a waste of space. I don't know what album he was listening to because Common Sense doesn't sound slick or over produced to me. It sounds muddy and dense and hard (those are good things in my book, by the way) in all the right places. Keep making music.

  21. damn dude, you care a lot. Someone in bands of your stature shouldn't be stooping so low as to respond to critics. Actually, nobody who thinks of himself as an artist should be stooping that low. A publication absolutely has the right to put out anything they please. You throwing a hissy fit makes me enjoy his criticism that much more.

  22. A very instructional lesson on how the Internet works both ways.
    My review of the album after buying it off Julia on Monday in Glasgow: Easily a welcome addition to the FOTL library. Punchy (as usual) bass with just as many hooks as the other albums.
    The live show severed my right ear clean off which was a bonus as no plastic surgeon was willing to perform such a feat for anything shy of £10,000.

  23. As I always say, "if Pitchfork don't like it, how bad can it really be?"

    Awesome show last night, by the way.

  24. Awesome retort, Mr Falkous! Really enjoyed reading it.

    I imagine you won't feel insulted by my review: http://www.boozebeatsbites.com/2012/06/beats-future-of-left-plot-against.html


  25. No band worth its weight will produce the same record over and over, creative evolution is guaranteed to leave certain people behind while gaining new fans as time goes by, but at no point can you call a band shit for that, just say you don't enjoy the direction they are taking.

    Right from the days of Mcklusky up until now Flaco's development in his art has been very evident, and as someone trying to make his way playing live and recording music without compromising his creativity it is inspiring. Above all every record he has released has been honest, you can hear the people playing things they don't enjoy a mile off and that has never occurred to me on a FOTL record.

    The new record is killer and the show at 2000 trees made the mud all worthwhile.

  26. "As for the cover, well, there’s a penguin on it you stupid cunt".

    Dear Falko, I want to have your babies <3

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