Good bands, even great bands, often fall through the cracks of the big label/indie label dichotomy and never attain the attention or widespread praise they deserve. In fact, very often the bands that do grab the mass audience categorically suck, or after one successful album create a catalog comprised of musical shit that happily kowtows to their key demographic. Or, those huge bands create excellent albums time after time and reach some sort of epic (colloquially) status. And in the wake of unending praise are talented, interesting, solid bands that never hear a word about world tours and stadium shows.
Welsh alt-rock punk power trio Mclusky is just such a case of the overlooked. Formed in 1996 they put out 3 full length albums between then and 2005, at which time the band broke up due to inter-band tensions. Singer Andy Falkous now fronts Future of the Left, a great band in their own right and one that is thankfully not underrated. In 2006, a compilation titled Mcluskyism was released that chronicled their career in 12 singles. And in a special edition also showcased B-sides, rarities and unreleased material. Unfortunately, I can't speak to the special edition's quality, but the singles disc, the "best of" is incredible! Wait. FUCKING incredible! Arguably, Mclusky's ironic hard-rocking, hook-laden, screamy style takes some getting used to. But there are songs here that speak to the aggro-scientist in all of us. There's anger and intelligence in an equal, beautiful mix. Irony is dolled out like ice cream on pie.
But what is most impressive, and what makes them so surprisingly obscure as a band is that Mclusky covered an incredible amount of creative territory in 9 years, and their sound flourished, but changed so much over just four albums. Screaming crunchy rockers like "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues" and "To Hell With Good Intentions" lead organically into more complex, pseudo-folk-rockier songs like "Alan Is a Cowboy Killer". Although the principal album is short, clocking in around 38 minutes, it is a fantastic and complete view of the bands trend through loud rocking to political and social commentary and back. And lyrically, Mclusky so often cannot be topped. Check out these nuggets from "To Hell With Good Intentions":
1. My love is bigger than your loveWe take more drugs than a touring funk band
2. My band is better than your band
We've got more songs than a song convention
3. My dad is bigger than your dad
He's got eight cars and a house in Ireland
And the driving guitar and great finger work that accompanies these lyrics, plus Falkous' technically impressive scream-singing makes it a unabashedly incredible rock song. This very amazing capacity for greatness is what makes the music industry, radio, etc., even college radio, so perplexing. We miss so much great music in our lives and not for lack of looking or seeking new artists, but because there exists so much amazing work in numerous genres and there's often never enough time to listen to them all. Some great bands will fall through, wasted in their time, but luckily re-discoverable in the years after. Now. Go listen to Mclusky. And Future of the Left. You will thank me.