Liars – They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top

Hailing from New York and frequently sharing the bill with acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the frantic Liars. Mixing stacatto vocals with hard throbbing guitars, great bass lines and the all important pounding drums; The Liars have a contagious spirit that you can’t ignore. Boasting some of the most intriguing song titles ever thought of they are more than just another New York garage rock band. There is an expectation you get when listening, wondering where they are going to take you next. The Liars do not dissapoint in any aspect. These guys should be great stars, and I’m sure they will be before long.

It’s hard to think of another band that has the same disregard for convention that can so seemingly effortlessly create a record that surprises with out falling into the ‘challenging’ category of unlistenable drivel.

A massively talented band who will blow you away. 5/5

Label : Mute

Release Date : Out Now

Tracklisting

Grown Men Don’t Fall In The River, Just Like That
Mr Your On Fire Mr
Loose Nuts On The Velodrome
The Garden Was Crowded And Outside
Tumbling Walls Buried Me In The Debris With ESG
Nothing Is Ever Lost Or Can Be Lost My Science friend
We Live NE Of Compton
Why Midnight Walked But Didn’t Ring Her Bell
The Dust Makes That Mud

Miss Black America – God Bless Miss Black America

I can see what Miss Black America were tying to do, they wanted to be the voice of the disaffected youth of today, sum up the mood of a million quashed teenage dreams and have the Daily Mail demonise them as inciting barely post pubescent depressives to acts of public disobedience. But where The Specials and The Jam (for example) had tapped the mood of a generation and arguably took music in new directions, MBA’s debut retreads old and dated ground.

There is a problem with is kind of music and that is that politics and music rarely mix well. The tune or the flow of the lyrics is so often stretched to breaking point by the weight of the message. Not so much here, although the views expressed are frequently expressed by laughable analogies. Leaning by rote is equated to indoctrination in the style of NAZI propaganda. I mean, seriously, that is just absurd. Like oh-so-many agit-popsters and protest song writers, Miss Black America end up sounding like whining malcontents with not only the weight of the world on their shoulders but the oppressive mass of the huge chips they have lodged there permanently.

Despite those problems this album is still pleasant, unobtrusive, and upbeat background music. Turned up a few notches on your stereo it has some numbers you can thrash about to (I hesitate to call the movements I make to music ‘dancing’ for fear of trading standards taking exception). The whole album would have benefited from being so much harder and up-front. God Bless Miss Black America is too much like a high fibre, low fat, and caffeine free rebellion. Too clean, too precise and way too sanitised. This album has ended up being a harmless piece of indie pop fluff rather than a riotous aural affront to the senses and the mind. It pulls back from the brink when it should soar triumphantly, and is blandly pedestrian when it should be building raw emotion.

If you have never heard any MBA then I can tell you that they are very much like Power Of Dreams and a bit like The Police (And not just the bit of ‘Message in a Bottle’ they have nicked wholesale – sorry, it’s probably paying homage – for the opener ‘Human Punk’),

All in all, it’s too nice. This could be down to their producers rather than the band. I have never seen them live, but don’t believe they would have the reputation they have without a far more powerful live set than this CD would have me imagine.

They sound like they have had a forced charisma-ectomy. 2/5

Label : Integrity Records

Release Date : Out Now

Website : www.missblackamerica.net

Track listing

Human Punk
Strobe
Car Crash For A Soul
Infinate Chinese Box
Roadkill
Personal Politics
Talk Hard
Scream For Me
Don’t Speak My Mind
Miss Black America
Montana

Elf Power – Creatures

Any band whose first release has the great title of ‘Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs’ has to be worth a listen. Elf Power are part of a strange collective of artists called Elephant 6 and appear to be very fond of Tolkein and Phillip K Dick.

They are, in short, a bit odd.

They are also very good. ‘Creatures’ is a mix of styles and genre. There is good old rock alongside alt country twangs, twee indie and pure pop. Andrew Rieger’s vocals are engaging and heartfelt. There is a easy nonchalance running through these songs despite the frequent changes in direction. Great songs like ‘Things That Should Not Be’ and ‘Everlasting Scream’ are both beautifully written and have the catchiness that marks out an unalloyed pop treat. Buy this album and you will love it’s kookiness.

Elvish is still the king! 4/5 Thangewvermuch…

Label : Shifty Disco

Release Date : Out Now

Tracklisting

Let The Serpent Sleep
Everlasting Scream
The Creature
Palace Of The Flames
The Modern Mind
Visions Of The Sea
Things That Should Not Be
Three Seeds
The Haze
Unseen Hand
The Creature Part II