Lies Damned Lies - Last Place On The Map

Wednesday 1st January 2003
Lies Damned Lies - Last Place On The Map
Lies Damned Lies - Last Place On The Map

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Sticky Music GUMCD42

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

About the only thing I dislike about Lies Damned Lies is their name. But let’s be candid, any band who make music as richly emotive, honest and subtly musical as this trio could call themselves the Scottish Snot Ensemble and I’d still be listening hard. Has it really been six years since Steve Butler, Charlie Irvine and Dot Reid last released an album? How time flies. The thing about Edinburgh’s Lies Damned Lies is that, having their own studio and long established record label, the pressure is off them to (a) rush out the first 10 songs that happen to come along and (b) bow to commercial pressure and attempt to move stylistically towards what’s selling big. Instead, they simply allow life itself to mould and shape their lyrics and melodies and then perform them with an intuitive understated way, preferring stripped down arrangements than the formulaic stereotypes of much of today’s sounds. The effects are mainly achieved with guitars and keys with even bass and drums used sparingly. And then there are those wonderful lyrics. Pride of place goes to “Tell Me Who”, a tender-hearted song about judgmentalism. “My perspective on this thing is/It is a mistake you made/Others may wish to condemn you/But who is without sin/Hours of talk and miles of print/Tell me of the strangers guilt/This may simplify the world/But who is without sin.” While on the subject of the lyrics, I really appreciated the look of the sleeve (resplendent with a cover painting by Richard “Billy Penn’s Brother” Nicholson) but I wish someone had checked to see the handsome handwritten calligraphy of the lyrics was a tad more readable. But I digress. To that small but perfectly formed bunch of Lies Damned Lies devotees this album will be a purchase which has already been made (after all, the veterans launched it at Greenbelt 2002). But if this review or last issue’s Sticky Music piece spark your interest, go to their website and investigate one of British Christendom’s most beloved institutions.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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