Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today the Doorstep Tomorrow the World

Desperate Bicycles' "The Housewife Song" quickly comes to mind when playing Liechtenstein's FIRST ALBUM, which I just got two seconds ago. Renée and her rhythm section achieve the same level of political consciousness without even rhyming 'sink' with 'think'.

If I had to review Survival Strategies In a Modern World I would simply write: If I had one, I'd bet my copy of Demonstration Tapes that there won't be a review of this record that doesn't mention the almost shamefully exuberant backing vocals of "All At Once".

But I don't have to, thankfully. As I've already told Renée that song is probably their best so far. That was before I'd heard the rest of the album, and now I can see it's got some serious competition. Without donning the Gothic Beauty stereotypes of Ipso Facto, they manage to be twice as enticing and spellbinding on songs like "Sophistication". And they've learned so much from Dolly Mixture's inventive percussion and backing vocals. It's revelatory how effective little touches like the la-la-la's in "All At Once" or the cow bell in "Sophistication" can be. It's all brought to the front by the far superior production on these songs. The sound quality of previous records was enough for eardrum thumpers like "Stalking Skill" and the starkness of "Apathy", but this is almost a different band. A band that seems so real and essential it's hard to recall the day Jörgen told me they had just set up the Liechtenstein myspace and we got to hear Renée's songs for the first time.

Today, Liechtenstein is probably the Swedish pop band that frequents the British indie gig venues the most. Both cause they can take it (the three of them that are left) and because they deserve it. Their next TAF gig flyer will probably say: "Liechtenstein - because YOU deserve it!", if they could afford to crack a joke.

Survival Strategies In a Modern World is about as long as the Vivian Girls LP. I only hope Mike Schulman has decency of pressing the vinyl at 45 rpm. If he does, this will be the stuff of legend. In 20 years time, some forlorn post-indie kid will listen to "Reflections" wishing s/he (if not androgynous) could write songs like that, and maybe come to the conclusion that they can. Just as I do when I hear Dolly Mixture's "Day By Day".

(And of course Liechtenstein still don't sound like Shop Assistants or The Mo-Dettes. It's only your imagination. If you don't mind, I'll get back to my broom now!)


Tom said...

>And of course Liechtenstein still don't sound like The Mo-Dettes<

I think you are in a minority of one there Kris! The thing I like about the band is that they do sound like all of those female fronted post punk bands I love. That's no bad thing in my book.

Marianthi said...

I agree with Kris that they sound more that Dolly Mixture these days (althought 'Stalking Skills' was very Shop Assistants-y. You've got to give me that one!) - but the great thing about Liechtenstein is that they have that sound but, to my mind, their tunes surpass those of their idols. They haven't recorded a song that's less than perfect. That new album is phenomenal.

The Boy and the Cloud said...

driving the irony home there, tom?

Tom said...

I wasn't saying they just sounded like The Mo-dettes Kris unless you meant something else.

The Boy and the Cloud said...

yeah, i meant that that last paragraph is completely ironic.

we shouldn't really compare unique bands like liechtenstein to others, even if they sound like them!