If you ever get married it is essential that you trust your wife. Choose her wisely and she will be your ultimate advisor. Her opinion will come to you undiluted and with the honesty of an arrow. So if you are ever unsure about the veracity of your own thoughts on a subject, allow her clarion call to clear the cobwebs and provide insight and directness of purpose.
I have found this lesson particularly apposite when ruminating on this EP. Liberty Lies do not deal in the type of heavy music that has become my regular fayre of late. They are not massively over-drive, there is only clean singing, there is no palm-muting anywhere to be seen, the main thrust of each song is the emotional import derived from the sincerity of the vocals as opposed to a duo-tonal rhythmic throb.
So I must say that on my first few listens, my attention which should have been captured so readily was cloaked in a shroud of preconception. It’s my own sickly fault and my hand is held high in honest admission. But it is in moments like this, where my own weakness comes to the fore, that marrying such a strong, intelligent woman who can call time on my self-structured bullshit, stands me in such good stead.
“This is really good, I don’t think you are listening correctly” said Naomi. It was a simple sentence but it was enough for me to de-construct my opinion and start again.
Liberty Lies write the kind of power driven anthemic ballads that used to fill the sound tracks of movies throughout the 1980’s. Unashamedly brazen and dedicated to their glorious pomposity, what separates them from being unrepentantly cheesy is the profoundly brilliant level of song writing which they display with power and aplomb on this EP.
Avian vocals swoop and climb over riffs infused with enough modern technique and process to remain fascinating. Shaun Richards is blessed with a voice of true luxury, able to simultaneously provide personality and dexterity. Like Meatloaf without the tawdry cloak of sweaty ego, his skill at finding the pinch point in the melodic line behind him is eerily prescient. Turning any potential for cloying and clichéd melody into incisive moments of classic power rock.
So powerfully serrated are the vocals that I was duped on at least two occasions into paroxysms of nostalgia, convinced that what I was listening to was some rare groove from the heyday of crotch grabbing pantomimic Rock ebullience.
The Guitars are stealthy and nuanced enough to hold the attention without resorting to table thumping histrionics. This pays great credit to the skill of Josh Pritchett and Liam Billings at creating lines which are both framework and fashion in the same instant. Riffs that are self-assured enough to sit under the resonant glory of the vocals, buoyed by the knowledge that their innate strength will speak volumes of testament without recourse to shouting.
The rhythm section could be accused of taking the direct route to efficiency. But I would argue that it better to do something with simplicity and pedigree; fulfilling its promise perfectly, than to be over ambitious and fail to achieve the desired effect. Their use of cross melodic syncopation is judicious and timely. Filling the songs with a liquid contrapuntal energy that is the very essence of Rock.
And so, what genre is this? In another time and place it could have been called Cock Rock; but here and now, it has too much power, precision and talent behind it to be tarred with that brush. I’ve always understood the cock in “cock rock” to stand for confidence and commitment to a specific desire. So, if I labelled Liberty Lies as purveyors of Power Cock Metal, I should mean it as a compliment without any pejorative connotations.
Within the parameters of this type of music, the Fractures EP is pretty flawless. Liberty Lies have got songs, power and skilful structure in abundance. And in the shape of Shaun Richards, a secret weapon that can melt the hearts of cynical old men and ‘too cool for school’ kids everywhere.
So what have I learnt while engaging with this delightful little EP? Liberty Lies have managed to instil vibrancy and life into a genre that I assumed was moribund; It’s never too late to admit that you are wrong; and, Always listen to your Wife.
Fracture will be released on the 12th of January and be setting out on a short UK tour in February; 5th Feb in Nottingham, 6th Feb in Birmingham and 7th of Feb in Sheffield.
– John Whitmore