Album Reviews

The Blood Arm – Lie Lover Lie

(City Rockers) UK release date: 16 October 2006


Famous friends. What a pain in the arse. All it takes is one misplaced word of appreciation, and a career can be forever tarnished by the specter of being “that band that so-and-so likes”.

So meet the band whom Franz Ferdinand like. But wait. Relax. Keep that shell-like pointed in this general direction and rejoice. For this is one of those oh-so infrequent occasions when you can actually trust the rock-star – Lie Lover Lie is pretty gosh-darn brilliant.

It’s the sound of the Scissor Sisters playing chess against The Strokes on the back of a twelve hour crystal-meth binge; extravagant, decadent and yet still pretty damn smart. There’s debauchery at the centre of what The Blood Arm do for sure, but it’s surrounded by an endearing fallibility. They know this party has to end soon, and they’re slightly worried they’re going to be the ones left doing the cleaning.

Suspicious Character ramps up the narcissistic elements of that Franz seal of approval, borrowing the archness, precise guitar lines and clipped vocal tics of the Archduke boys, teaming it with a chorus that’s not a billion miles away from what you’d hope the indie version of Baby Got Back would sound like.

Angela is all kitsch piano lines and grandiose swoops, but with a core of plaintive longing, leaving something which sounds like The Cribs hijacking Elton John from the set of a Broadway production, then forcing him at gunpoint to play Your Song underneath the window of the object of their restraining order.

There’s a smirking ambition behind Lie Lover Lie, a glorious sense of humour that allows them to get away with much that they shouldn’t. Going To Arizona nicks a children’s choir and still ends up like The Killers used to wish they could be, full of shattered, faded glamour; they’ve got soul, and they ain’t about to piss it away on no stinkin’ Springsteen fetish neither.

‘Tis quite, quite grand. You see, in another one of those rare occurrences, what we’ve got here is an almost fully formed debut. It’s deviously clever, deliciously debauched and just plain funky. By the time that the fabulously flouncy Delores Delivers A Glorious Death elegantly annunciates its last, you’re left in absolutely no doubt that this is an record by a band who really don’t require any celebrity patronage.

With Lie Lover Lie The Blood Arm have grabbed both our attention and our appreciation, and it’s entirely on their own terms.


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