The Liftmen: Luftwaffe Pond – album review

The Liftmen – Luftwaffe Pond (Twisted Nerve Recordings)
CD / DL
Out now

The Liftmen produce an album of curious indie rock mixed with jazz, post punk and delightful surprises.

The Liftmen start this record all indie rock, quirky female vocals and jangly music, telling stories and naivety. Then by the end of the second track they descend into psychedelic freakout.

They met in Bristol, which in my head explains a lot, I can’t remember the last straightforward band I heard from there. According to their facebook bio they met in an industrial elevator. They are also making a sound unlike any other I have heard before. As a whole this album defies my brain and my ears.

”˜Troubled Teens’ has the aforementioned very clear and quirky female vocals. With music that echoes the rise and fall of the voice. It moves around itself, you can feel the bass winding around the drums. The guitar is gentle until it kicks into a fuzz drenched glorious noise over everything else. It switches off the effect and jangles until the end of the song.

”˜Cloudy O’ uses twin vocals, harmonising and story telling. The music is brooding, unsettling and builds until it breaks into a faster and faster psychedelic workout, ending with a last buzz of guitar. ”˜Forest Burial’ fades in, I don’t think we are in quirky indie land anymore, the music is wide open, jazzy with both vocals coming in and out, predominantly the male voice. The song drifts along and the instruments jam against each other.

”˜Prison Break’ is a story of some moving into a prison to escape the world, a sensual feel to the music, it’s bright and shining, as the contradictory story plays out, the music slipping into a seventies disco beat. These two songs have both been over seven minutes long and the music has settled into the time, it’s not rushed or bloated, it’s what you imagine the group would do live when they draw the songs out to their logical conclusions. The end of ”˜Prison Break’ is a very quiet jarring interlude, thrashing guitars and finally an unbelievably cute voice.

It’s at about this point in the album that I have no idea at all what is coming next, I can’t figure this out at all, it’s got me completely hooked to the sound and feel and I want to know what’s coming next.

”˜Outback’ has been listening to early Throwing Muses and late Fugazi, post punk hard music and perfect vocals over the top. This could have easily come out on Discord records and is not what I thought I would hear on this record. ”˜Visit South’ has a very jazzy riff and beat, the story of the song is swapped from male to female voices, it feels improvised and very likely an indication of what the Liftmen sound like live.

The title track fades in with fuzzed out bass, steady drums and spikes of guitar. The story of a bomb from the Lufwaffe making a beautiful perfectly round pond. The guitars kick in, the bass gets louder and the group go, another sonic sprawl. It calms down again and the pond now has a jetty for sitting and smoking. This song feels like it’s going to explode, there’s a real tension to the quiet sections waiting for the noise to erupt. But instead it finishes as quietly as it started.

”˜Two Kranes’ is steeped in the feel of post punk. It’s angular and spiky. ”˜Invite to a Brick Wall’ has a very full sound. The voice is delicate and beautiful, the music is less jarring and a little harder, the loud is very loud in this song. ”˜Corn Break’ is a repetitive jazzy workout that chills and relaxes. This leads into the last track ”˜He Was, There Was, They Were’ which continues the chilled feel. Another story and another track that seems delicate and different from what has come before.

This album is not in any pigeon hole that I know of.

Words like ”˜scene’ and ”˜genre’ shrivel up and run away screaming when confronted by the myriad sounds and noises coming from the speakers.

It’s a wonderful creation. I imagine that live this band would take these songs to another level and I look forward to experiencing it. In the meantime, this album will be on for some time to come.

All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on LTW here.

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