Flood of Lies

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Flood of Lies Review

by Ralph Heibutzki

Flood of Lies is more diverse and engaging than suggested by its cover -- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher cavorting with shapeless demons! Vocalist Charlie Harper remains the evergreen original, co-writing and producing with bassist Steve Slack and one Captain Scarlet (or Sensible?) on guitar. Harper's mob spices up punk's bass-guitar-drums template in surprising ways -- like using medieval acoustic guitar intros to set up "Soldiers of Fortune" and "Dress Code." Dramatic tempo changes are also part of the band's trick bag -- especially on "Flood of Lies" -- while Jones contributes some thunderous tom-tom work to "After the War," which exemplifies the subtle creativity at work here. The longer songs show an affinity for the intensity of metal with none of the instrumental excess often associated with the genre. The thumping title track ("You better hold on tightly, it's 1984") surely got Big Brother's year off to a flying start, while Scarlet's flanged-draped guitar finds ample space on "Seas of Mars" -- whose five grinding minutes mark one of the band's most atypical numbers. Harper bellows with his usual distinctive élan against perennially stacked economic systems ("In the Red," the nine-to-five grind "DB's") and hired mercenaries ("Soldiers of Fortune"). But the most affecting moment belongs to "Tampa Bay" -- where Harper casts a longing glance away from his frigid homeland to the calmer, sunnier shores of Florida. Endangered Species and Another Kind of Blues remain the definitive early albums, but Flood of Lies showed plenty of tricks still lurked up these dogs' sleeves for anyone who listened. [Captain Oi!'s reissue adds the Magic City and Another Typical City EPs, as well as the usual jam-packed booklet and artwork.]

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