‘Troubled Teens’ Review
Live Gig Reviews
BEST OF 2011 GIG [Venue magazine]
Twisted Nerve’s Tenth Anniversary Showcase was predictably busy, the crowd fleshed out by a horde of In The City delegates, alongside the likes of Damon Gough and Jarvis Cocker. The Liftmen take to the stage without much ceremony and ooze puddles of cool. With a classic garage line-up of guitar, drums and bass, The Liftmen roll out Fugazi-tinted odysseys and dried bubblegum bursts. Cheeky, surfy tones mix with jazzy, Detroit shapes as Kim Deal-style vocals salt and sass within. The Liftmen are a typical Twisted Nerve band – quirky, experimental and strangely loveable. Unusual chord changes and dark strummy segues emerge from the mists of the cooler than cool, distinctively American sound. These are musicians feeling their way, making music for music’s sake and forgetting the world beyond this noble cause. [BBC Manchester review]
‘Meat Raffle’ Single Review
Plan B magazine February/March 06 Words Everett True The Liftmen, a Sonic Youth. Captain Beefheart and Fall-influenced Bristol ‘super’ group who released one incredible album, Ponds of Beauty/Ponds of Terror (Disco-ordination). The Single, on pleasingly thick blood-red vinyl, crept onto my turntable unawares one night, and refused to budge for weeks, such is the beguiling charm of its languid, elastic grooves kind of reminiscent of (admittedly obscure) early Eighties bands such as The Transmitters and Bristol’s own Glaxo Babies spidery and twanging with taut desire.
‘The Liftmen’ Album Reviews
Best UK Indie Rock Release of 2009: THE LIFTMEN The Liftmen CD (Twisted Nerve) Gal-led indie rock ain’t the first thing I reach for most days, but dammit if this CD ain’t getting me reconsider a whole pantload of unexamined musical prejudices. This Bristol band filters the joyous outsiderdom of early 80′s post punk (think FAMILY FODDER) through post-TORTOISE grooves to nice effect. The particulars they sing of (sickly newts, mushy peas, St. George tattoos) speak of that alienation which modern, low rent English life dredges up in all of us. But it’s main gtrist/songwriter, Neil Smith, who captures my attention the most. His inventive playing is oddly reminiscent of SLOVENLY’s Tom Watson, had Tom hailed from The West Country rather than The West Coast. The Twisted Nerve/Battered Ornaments label stable has given us real good ones – the CANisms of THE LAUGHING WINDOWS, the archaic lushness of BENEATH FIRE & SMOKE, and of course my faves WOLF PEOPLE – but THE LIFTMEN can hold their own admirably in this company.
The band are not only quite unlike anything else around at the moment but quite bizarre even by Twisted Nerve standards. The atonal strumming of ‘Belly Can’ combines garage rock frivolousness with new wave abrasion, and the whole album seems to be laced with a woozy preoccupation with the absurd. Intriguing stuff. [ ‘Boomkat’ review]
Oddly tuneful experimentalist songcraft — free rock with a tuneful bent, influenced by Sonic Youth style guitar washes, lumbering Beefheartian grooves, and male and female vocals (the whole group sings) — with some easygoing tunes that keep things more restrained, warm, and intimate than the sprawl of their forebears. The group also plays around with a bit of a folky dynamic, strangely quiet in a way that’s enveloped by the noisier elements. [Internet shop review]
Now then, The Lift Men – this is much much more like it. I’m not sure how to explain how this album is so much enjoyable than the last one – it has the same ingredients but the songs kind of come out of a much more obtuse place. Its not singer songwriter stuff with added instruments – it emerges fully formed – the guitars twist around in ever shifting patterns almost like ‘Ice Cream for Crow’ era Captain Beefheart, though the general feel is of someone like Pram, Life Without Buildings or perhaps Blonde Redhead. The press release mentions Young Marble Giants and I see where they are coming from even though the record sounds nothing like them – these are eerie spacious songs with at times almost childlike vocals and skewed melodies. The self-titled CD/LP is on Twisted Nerve. [Norman Records review]