A horrible hack

Liars Academy

No News Is Good News

Year Released: 2002
Format: CD
Label: Equal Vision
 
Reviewed by Martin Brown on Jun 13, 2007
Anyone who knows enough will be aware that I was a huge Cross My Heart fan. 'Temporary Contemporary' is quite simply a masterpiece, and their final clear vinyl release with The Exploder is one of my most treasured records. I procured the aforementioned record from Nick. Nick is an online pal of mine whose cousin played bass in XMH, and has since the recording of the Liars Academy album, joined them on bass. Nick sent me the demo, and as Ryan Shelkett, the genius behind XMH was at the helm of this group, I was wet with anticipation. I'll be blunt, it sucked. Some of the songs shone through, and it was obvious they could play a tune, but it was seriously lacking something. Having heard this album, I've worked out that those things were good production, time to tighten up, and a second guitar track, because, contrary to Nick's opinion, this album absolutely fucking rocks! Firstly, whilst Shelkett's other project, The Dead Red Sea, exacerbate XMH's slower, more ambient songs (e.g. 'Infinity Doesn't Live Here Anymore'), Liars Academy have firmly set their feet in the other end of the spectrum. If you take songs like 'London Bridge' from the last XMH album, punk it up and add some extra indie-rock sentiment you're somewhere near what these guys are about. Songs like 'No News Is Good News' (with an absolutely blistering outtro), 'Nightlight' and the anthem 'This Is Your Life, Get Used To It' (which gets extra points for featuring some positively Iron Maiden-esque guitar chugging) make me want to dance, and that doesn't often happen with indie-rock songs. However, the band have their slower side, songs like 'Dreams In Technicolour' and the stunning 'Perfect', take on a more Emo Diaries flavour, but in a restrained and innovative fashion that makes it just irresistible to me. A lot of people, particularly those after XMH mark 2, aren't going to like this. Indeed, this album is not a masterpiece, but I don't think it ever wanted to be. It wanted to write catchy tunes and rock some (continuing this bizarre personification I seem to have slipped into my review), and it does that with considerable punch. The second guitar rocks, and with them having that asset in their live line-up now, this band are clearly poised to rock my world some more in the near future. Another Shelkett winner, but of the unexpected kind.

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