Crisis Actor

Billy Liar

Pirates Press Records, 2023

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The Scottish guitarist and vocalist Billy Liar is equal parts acoustic folk troubadour and electric punk rager, and his ’70s influences are certainly present on this sophomore studio album that’s ideal for fans of Frank Turner, Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem, The Menzingers or The Clash.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The hard-hitting but completely melodic “Oblivion” opens the listen with pounding drums and charged guitars that suit Liar’s gritty yet heartfelt singing. “Baltimore” then follows with well-timed keys and soaring backing vocals for the more careful climate, and “Negroni” follows with the aforementioned Frank Turner on vocals for the crisp and anthemic duet.

Packed in the middle is the abrasive drumming of “Phantom Limb,” where the bass acrobatics and lively energy make for a swirling punk demeanor, though it’s the swift guitars and busy interaction of “Ostrich” that will make any punk rock enthusiast an instant fan.

A calmer moment happens near the end, where the raw and intimate “Don’t Trust Anyone” eventually builds into a powerful delivery of ebullient songwriting. “Hogmana” then picks up the pace with a speedy Celtic delivery that might remind you of Flogging Molly, The Pogues or even US legends like Rancid; the latter’s frontman, Tim Armstrong, has already praised Liar as one of the best punk artists today.

The longest track, “Troubled Mind” exits the listen, and focuses on acoustic guitar and Liar’s diverse pipes for the most vulnerable tune, and it certainly illustrates his diversity.

Liar takes help from Tim van Doorn (bass), Robin Guy (drums), Joe McMahon of Smoke Or Fire fame (guitar, vocals), Dave Parker (guitar), and The Hold Steady's Franz Nicolay (keys), who make for a blistering but also attentive listen for punks who own plenty of Billy Bragg records, too.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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