Mclusky return with a dark and spectacular third album.
Too Pure: 17 May 2004
Last updated: 20 November 2008
This has been a long time coming. Mclusky's third album was originally due to be released in mid-2003. A long, slow gestation period followed in which the Cardiff three-piece recorded a couple of criminally ignored singles, lost drummer Matt Harding, gained replacement Jack Egglestone and ditched the album's working titles G.E.R.M.S, Be Average To Each Other and the inspired but commercially-suicidal Mclusky Are F**king Dead.
- Without MSG I Am Nothing
- That Man Will Not Hang
- She Will Only Bring You Happiness
- KKKitchens, What Were You Thinking?
- Your Children Are Waiting For You To Die
- Icarus Smicarus
- You Should Be Ashamed, Seamus
- Lucky Jim
- Forget About Him I'm Mint
- 1956 And All That
- Falco Vs. The Young Canoeist
- Support Systems
But the wait was worthwhile: The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire is Mclusky's most diverse and artistically successful album to date.
Recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago last Christmas, The Difference Between Me And You reaches into the darker side of Mclusky and pull out its blackened heart. Lucky Jim and Falco Vs. The Young Canoeist rattle full-throttle to their ends, with barely a whistleable tune between them, and the eight-minute closing Support Systems builds from a whisper into a squall of white noise and grinding guitars, before ebbing into feedback for the final minute.
But there are also a fair number of Mcluskyian pop gems, from the opening ode to vitamin deficiency Without MSG I Am Nothing, to first single That Man Will Not Hang and the catchier-than-chlamydia She Will Only Bring You Happiness.
Amid singer Andy Falkous' opaque lyrics there sneak out a few possible references to the band's acrimonious parting with Matt Harding, notably in You Should Be Ashamed, Seamus ("Born in Cardiff raised by wolves and died on his f**king arse", spits Falkous). And who could possibly be the subject of She Will Only Bring You Happiness' refrain, "Our old singer is a sex criminal"?
Bassist Jon Chapple takes lead vocals on the infectious Forget About Him I'm Mint, which also features Shellac's Bob Weston on trumpet. It's one of the album's most commercial highlights, though the too-brief Icarus Smicarus and the slide guitar frenzy of 1956 And All That more than give it a fair run for its money.
Less successful is Your Children Are Waiting For You To Die, a baffling piece of guitar noodling album filler that's seemingly only there so Icarus Smicarus can kick its arse into next Wednesday.
But minor niggles aside, this is a triumph. It confirms Mclusky's position as the best rock act to have emerged from Wales in years. This is a is a bold, fearless piece of work which initially sounds like Do Dallas' slightly uglier, weirder kid brother, but grows into something vital and fearless after repeated listens. Better still, the endlessly prolific Andy Falkous claims to have completed writing the follow-up already. Not on fire? Don't believe a word of it.
Words: Joe Goodden