A couple of weeks before the election, I looked up a Future of the Left video online, but before I could see it I had to sit through a campaign ad for Rep. Michele Bachmann. This was odd: A Venn diagram showing people who listen to Future of the Left and people who support the Tea Party favorite would probably look like two circles that never, ever meet.
Still, any advertisement would look weird when paired with Future of the Left. The Welsh band seems to live for bizarre juxtapositions. Their songs pair distorted guitars with tinny keyboards, out-of-control noise with unexpectedly complicated arrangements, robotic chanting with screaming and the occasional melodic hook, lyrics that discuss quantum mechanics alongside lyrics that joke, “Where were you when Russell Brand invented fire?”
I chose that line as an example of songwriter Andy Falkous’s offbeat sense of humor, but I might have picked any line off the recent The Plot Against Common Sense. He’s at his funniest and his most scathing here, but it’s a complete mystery what he’s going on about. “Civilized people don’t fuck bears,” he sing-chants in “A Guide to Men,” before going into a historical analysis of the Roman Empire — which quickly gets sidetracked by talk about emperor penguins.
As he has since his days in the band Mclusky, Falkous repeatedly gives just enough information to suggest that he could be some kind of songwriting genius and then suddenly turns into something more closely resembling a ranting lunatic on a crowded city bus. Hey, now that I think of it, Future of the Left does have something in common with Bachmann after all!
FUTURE OF THE LEFT: Ché Café, Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, 7 p.m. 858-534-2311. $13.