Personnel: Andrew Falkous (guitar, keyboards); Jack Egglestone (drums).
Recording information: Monnow Valley Studio, Monmouth.
Leave it to Future of the Left to call some of their most uncompromising music in years a truce. Perhaps the 'mclusky' reunion -- which found FOTL bassist Julia Ruzicka and the St. Pierre Snake Invasion's Damien Sayell playing alongside Andy Falkous and Jack Egglestone for a handful of dates -- reinvigorated them. Maybe it was the fact that they were able to crowdfund their fifth album within a matter of hours. Whatever the reason, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left is one of their most roaring dissents against the increasingly frustrating state of the world in the 2010s. Of course, this band is angry even when it isn't fashionable, but even so, this is some of their most cathartic music in a while. It's also some of their heaviest, forsaking the keyboards that decorated How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident and The Plot Against Common Sense in favor of no-frills rock delivered in apoplectic spasms like "Eating for None" and relentless grinds such as the gloriously ugly centerpiece "Back When I Was Brilliant." Meanwhile, Falkous remains ruthlessly efficient at deflating blowhards and hypocrites with withering scorn. "How many great achievements did it take to make you so smug?/I'm genuinely interested" he asks on "Proper Music," injecting it with a lethal dose of deadpan disgust. Somehow, the few musical flourishes Future of the Left allow themselves on Peace & Truce just make its songs more caustic, whether it's the taunting kazoos on "50 Days Before the Hun," the backing vocals that circle like vultures on "In a Former Life," or the singsong harmonies on "The Limits of Battleships," the album's closest approximation of a pop song. Moments like these let Future of the Left's fury stand out even more starkly on songs such as "Reference Point Zero"; when Falkous screams the chorus to "Shake, Rattle and Roll," it's about as close as a song can come to burning rock in effigy -- as well as a reminder that when it comes to purifying rage, few do it better. ~ Heather Phares