Don’t be put off by incessant comparisons with the words Arcade & Fire. There’s no dressing up going on here. Very little vaudeville. The Strange Death Of Liberal England are something altogether more enticing than that!
First we noticed their name. Bandied about the nether regions of the mainstream press like a leaked password. A hotchpotch of letters, thrown together - almost at random. To what could they be referring? Liberal? England? Surely some mistake. Surely some other country. The past?
Then we noticed their media. Scratchy, hand-drawn, made out of old Cornflakes boxes. The Strange Death Of Liberal England are influenced by affluence. They come from Portsmouth. That’s all she wrote!
Then we noticed their stagecraft. The Strange Death Of Liberal England employ banners – a la ‘Gabba Gabba Hey’ – to communicate with their audiences. They shout ‘we are Bandini’ at anyone who’ll listen. And they write songs as big as continents.
Then we noticed their attitude. We dropped them a line. Asked them if they wanted to answer some questions. Asked them if they wanted to be in tMx. “Yes”, they said. So we sent questions. Obviously very boring questions that The Strange Death Of Liberal England considered themselves to be above answering. That was the last we heard. First time that’s happened in 7-years! Oooooh! Get you!
Then we got guest listed for a few of their shows and failed to show up in retaliation. We are very mature here, you must understand.
So, it was with much wailing & gnashing of teeth that we heralded the arrival of the debut Strange Death Of Liberal England 45 on Fantastic Plastic Records – home of the late, great Ikara Colt & the spunky Help! She Can’t Swim. The tMx Portadyne RP22 was duly fired up in anticipation. Go on, you foxy little minx, do something unique: impress us.
Then we fell in love. Again. Like we always do. The euphoria before the heartbreak - & the impending disappointment of the eventual sell-out.
The debut 7” 45 from The Strange Death Of Liberal England has two sides. Like any good story. The A-side is called “A Day Another Day”. It’s a rousing roustabout of a song with shuffling little-drummer-boy drumming, shimmering guitars & impassioned shouting/yelping. A sonic cathedral made out of gingerbread (laced with peyote). “We are Bandini”, holler the massed choir of Liberals. Their voices cracking at the edges. Their yelps punctuating the general chiming like an O-Level English teacher with a hangover. Shattered, shredded vocal chords, collapsing under the strain of pouring out this much emotion in one performance. And make no mistake – this IS performance! Godspeed You/Explosions In The/Mogwai with shouting! How unique is that? Joy de vivre seeps from every pore of this incredible record. It is nothing short of outstanding. A lifebuoy in a sea of mediocrity?
The B-side is called “Motor In The Sky Oil On The City”. It’s another corker. Different model. Different shade. Slightly different material. Bespoke, I think they call it. The Liberal choir chant a haunting refrain. A lone organ darts between the duelling guitars which twist themselves inside & out in the pursuit of a uniqueness rarely found elsewhere.
“A Day Another Day”/”Motor In The Sky Oil On The City” (Fantastic Plastic – FP073) are two very convincing arguments for future world domination on behalf of The Strange Death Of Liberal England. It comes complete with an oversized brown stiff card picture sleeve featuring a nice drawing (possibly in pencil – possibly from their roadie’s portfolio!) - & is pressed in snow white coloured vinyl. Doesn’t that sound sexier than a digital download?
The Strange Death Of Liberal England are here to stay. Invite them in & put the kettle on. It’s cold out there!
Guy Debored – tMx 29 – 04/07