O Lovely Lie - No In, No Out, No Echo
Owain Paciuszko 22/11/2008
Opening with the glorious guitar squall and piano line of 'Cinderella' this is an assured debut album from this Nottingham based outfit. Led by Gemma Upton's shouty (in a good way) vocals there are distinct hints of The Breeders tangling amongst influences such as The Cure and Sonic Youth. You can hear Robert Smith's shadow looming large over 'Fashionista' where Richard Upton's vocals take over alongisde a none-more-eighties synth line.
The first great track of the album is 'This House Radiates' that has a delicious melancholy almost reminiscent of one of Elliot Smith's more 'upbeat' numbers, it explodes into a speaker-rattling chorus. Things take a shift towards Black Rebel Motorcycle Club territory with the strangely cheery 'I Have No Ghosts' that is propelled along by Ben Hallam's excellent, meaty drumming. It suffers a bit lyrically, with the chorus of 'Take me higher' stepping a bit too close to saccharine and sounding at odds with the darker musical tones.
'Pick Your Bones' is another welcome slower number, when experimenting and not striving for a chorus O' Lovely Lie are at the peak of their powers. The eighties synths return to the fore for 'Turning Blue (I Think Of You)' and the Upton's vocals back-and-forth with the kind of play usually reserved for 'twee' bands, here it rattles against the raging guitars ending up somewhere close to 'twangst' (twee-angst). It's a good track if occasionally seemingly confused, one section suddenly becomes Talking Heads and the song never quite hits the heights it should.
Final track 'Fear of the Sea' opens with a wonderful piano-line from Anna Robinson with drums and ambient noise in the background turning the band, quite brilliantly, into some kind of strange experimental instrumental act. It's the other truly great track of the record, and shouldn't be dismissed as merely an 'instrumental' (a fate that often befalls these kind of additions).
There are two bonus tracks (recorded in 2006) the first of which comes across like early Brian Jonestown Massacre and has a great little chorus thrown in amongst Richard Upton's pleasingly bitter verses; 'Yeah, I think I could live without you.' It drifts into the propulsive 'Infect the City' which sends the album out well with it's refrain of 'It's time you came home'.