Available as a Limited Edition package containing the album on both vinyl and CD. As well as fold out lyric sheet and photos.
Jackknifed And Slaughtered was mixed and produced by Richard Warren (Echoboy, Soulsavers) at The Cedars Nottingham where Rich worked with Spiritualized on their Songs in A and E.
The Tenebrous Liar are Steve Gullick - vocals and guitar, Tony Ash - guitar, Brendan Casey - bass and Tom Glendining - drums, the Richard Warren produced album is the line-up’s first together. This is a very different incarnation of the band who have been releasing records since 2006, the last being 2008’s critically acclaimed TENEBROUS LIAR’S LAST STAND which, like the new offering, was released by the staunchly independent label TV Records.
JACKKNIFED & SLAUGHTERED sees The Tenebrous Liar dynamically evince their full potential both as songwriters and as a powerful musical force, they are now clearly more than capable of producing emotionally charged, direct, structured and melodious songs, delivered straight from the heart and gut. From the vivid rancour of ‘Suffer You’, through the subterranean soul searching within ‘No Guiding Light’, ‘Nothing Is Plenty’ and ‘Cut Down Your Love’, the blank generation post sense response of ‘Nothing To Say’, the dramatic howl of desire and plea for reconciliation which ignites the title track, the yearning ‘No Relief’ to the finality of ‘Is This How It Ends?’.
JACKKNIFED & SLAUGHTERED is an album of two distinct halves, side one devised to hook the listener with up-tempo deliberately catchy pop songs, side two has darker leanings, more contemplative, brooding and subdued. “The way these songs developed is definitely a consequence of the addition of our new drummer, Tom.” opines lyricist and internationally renowned music photographer Steve Gullick, considering the thrilling musical evolution of the band. “He’s just facilitated my musical dreams and made us all much better musicians, he and Bren have become this amazing rhythm section.”
The bands utter commitment to creating a stirring soundscape backdrop to Gullick’s confessional words of experience is never in doubt. Underpinned by the rock solid rhythmic foundation provided by Glendining’s drums and Casey’s bass, Ash’s innovative guitar inflames The Tenebrous Liar tunes while Gullick’s idiosyncratic guitar and vocals bring poignant emotional clout to the album.
Gullick and the band have intuitively fashioned their own compelling compositions and utterly distinctive sound “the songs were well rehearsed and played extensively live before we went into the studio”, Gullick also acknowledges producer Richard Warren’s contribution to the successful realization of the group’s clamourous blast on ‘Jackknifed & Slaughtered’, working in the same isolated Nottingham studio where Rich worked with Spiritualized on their ‘Songs in A and E album’: “Rich breathes music, just knows how we need to sound, his only brief was, ‘We just want to play the songs live and we want you to record them, we have four days.”
Listening to this album cannot be called a comfortable experience. But then the truth never is… is it? However, there’s much here to admire; that I find totally compelling; and while I hate drawing comparisons with other acts, on this occasion I feel I am justified. Imagine Nirvana at its most angst-ridden, jamming a demo. Imagine instrumental band the Dirty Three falling out of love, angry and obnoxious, while maintaining their melodic roots. Imagine the Tindersticks turning up the recording volume and travelling a much rockier path. This band and album are all this and more.
An angry drum beat and single sombre guitar chord introduces the first song, ‘Suffer You’, before Gullick’s raw vocal pronounces, “whose greed has shot you down, and now you’re drowned and I think that’s okay, do you know when to stop now you’re fucked, yeah that’s okay, as you wriggle in the shit your friends will stare, and I say that’s okay.” Verses are punctuated by thunderous instrumental passages - non-vocal choruses, the mood is sombre, resigned and beautifully reflected in the the band’s sound. But there’s something else here that makes this band’s music even more interesting and accessible, and that is its sensativity to melody. It’s evident on this first track, and elevates a musical rant to something very special. ‘No Guiding Light’ is another example of this, along with the central role played by Tom Glendining on drums in setting the band’s sound on firm foundations.
The title track ‘Jackknifed & Slaughtered’ slows pace to a deathly crawl for the opening two-plus minutes before the instrumentals open out. The vocal is desperate, desolate and raw, and as moving as anything I’ve heard as he pleads, “come back all is forgiven.” The final instrumental crescendo underlines the desperation and is awesome. ‘Nothing Is Plenty’ is another stupendous highight here with another powerful set of lyrics (”what you gonna do when love deserts you, when life seems empty…”). The marriage of expressive vocal and instruments is magnetic.
‘Freedom Reign’ travels at glacial pace and adds baritone backing vocals to underline the solemnity and drama of the song. ‘A Different Tide’ opens scarily with screaming, screeching guitars in what ends up as one of the rawest songs on the album. The final track, ‘Is This How It Ends’ reminds me so much of the Dirty Three, but with a vocal, and the distant strains of a piano at what seems like its conclusion (at around four minutes). However, the song is listed as being of thirty-two minutes duration of which ten minutes is, well, just nothing. Then at around 18 minutes the sound starts again with what seems like a guitar warming-up session followed eventually by Gullick singing about insomnia, and sounding like he’s under the influence. Then the instruments return in something akin to a dreamscape soundtrack, somewhere between heaven and hell - a weird but appropriate ending to a remarkable and highly distinctive record.
Steve Gullick is also a renowned music photographer and on looking at his gallery website I see distinct stylistic similarity between his music and his photography.
Tenebrous Liar Live
Windmill London 09/03/10
Famed rock photographer Steve Gullick is more accustomed to being behind the camera than as the focal point of attention. But as he takes to the stage as part of four piece Tenebrous Liar, he looks surprisingly at home as the band’s bellwether. Leering into the mic, his droned poetic deliverance, akin to Nick Cave, centres their ballsy and brooding sound. Two power cuts pay homage to the force of their primordial industrial rhythms and swelling psychedelic feedback, handily demonstrating what TL are about: the brilliance of the dark and shadowy.
Jackknifed & Slaughtered is a record of intense brooding, marked by the sullen rhythm of Brendan Casey and Tom Glendining. Steve Gullick's vocal blends Nick Cave with Mark Lanegan, exuding a sense of loss, melancholia but equally defiant. The seething 'Suffer You' sets the tone of 'Jackknifed.....' at once - this is a document of the cursed, wretched souls, condemned to rock 'n' roll under pure white heat.
The latter part of the Jackknifed brings the influences of early Cat Power, Palace and post-rock to the fore, without ever sounding particularly like anyone other than The Tenebrous Liar; Freedom Reign has to be one of the more vicious songs of recent years, compelling in it’s bitterness. Is This How It Ends? (the answer being “almost”, there’s a wonderful hidden song after it) leaves one gasping for air, and more.
Listening to this album cannot be called a comfortable experience. But then the truth never is… is it? However, there’s much here to admire; that I find totally compelling; and while I hate drawing comparisons with other acts, on this occasion I feel I am justified. Imagine Nirvana at its most angst-ridden, jamming a demo. Imagine instrumental band the Dirty Three falling out of love, angry and obnoxious, while maintaining their melodic roots. Imagine the Tindersticks turning up the recording volume and traveling a much rockier path. This band and album are all this and more.