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Future Leaders of the World - LVL IV Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 October 2004

Future Leaders of the World

format: 16-bit stereo CD
label: Epic Records
release year: 2004
performance: 4.5
sound 6.0
reviewed by: Paul Lingas

Image Future Leaders of the World is an appropriate if not somewhat unnerving name for this band, as many of the lyrics revolve around some sort of government or authoritative prosecution, whether it be over drugs, laws, incarceration, media, global prostitution or simple calls for worldwide revolution. Overall, the lyrics can really use some work, as they try too hard to sound perfectly outraged and emotive. While there is nothing that suggests that the writing is done in an anti-satirical manner, the drops of maturity that usually infuse lyrics with poetic fervor as well as “the message” have yet to fall upon these young men.
There are some cool riffs and licks going on and Future Leaders seem to understand that, in between grimacing musically, they need to include valleys in amongst the peaks. “Everyday” does this, as while the entire thing rocks pretty hard, the choruses seem to be the parts reserved for yelling into the mic. “Unite” is perhaps the closest thing to a ballad that they have, as even during the choruses there is minimal yelling, though the lead vocals by Phil Tayler sound like a cross here between Rob Thomas and the lead singer of Creed.

Not only does the music evoke some sort of darkness and pain, the lyrics keep up with the program. There is a lot of talk about pain, burning, prison bars, souls, decay, smoke, lies and other such pleasantries. And this is just in “Let Me Out,” which it doesn’t take a genius to figure out is about being let out of prison. “Kill Pop” is sort of an angrier version of Green Day’s “American Idiot” and, while the lyrics are in your face, the main riffs are quite addictive, especially the well-played bass. Some nice hooks change things up for a fun little bridge and then we get back to the grimacing and salivating into the microphone. Just listening to the lead singer makes me yearn for a throat lozenge. Here’s a lyric sample: “Kill pop dead on the radio, circus home made from Buffalo/Sold out tickets to every/Drugs are illegal so we kill microphones.” Half of that makes sense and the other half is gibberish.

Less than halfway through the album, it becomes apparent that these gentlemen have little to offer musically beyond a few nice though repetitively used hooks and riffs. This is what, more than anything, gives them a below average score. If it didn’t sound as though they were taking themselves so seriously, both musically and lyrically, then things might be different. I recommend that they all relax and try to change the world in a more subtle way. Subtlety can often have more impact than blatancy.

Frontman Tayler endured some tough times in past years and it is evident in both his music and lyrics. However, everything is a little too raw to be of much use to anyone. There are some flashes of excitement here and there, like the talky bits of “For Sale,” but the Buffalo, NY foursome become a little too wrapped up in their fury to make everything work as it should. Like many other groups of the same nature, the early offerings are so raw that they prove to be distracting, rather than effective in their invective. Now that Tayler has gotten some of these things off of his chest, future offerings might be better.

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