I just can’t help it but whenever I get a new album to review from a band from my neck of the woods, I always think of the mid 1980s and the days when nearly every Welsh band out there wanted to be a Poundshop version of the fucking Alarm.
God those days used to be grim. Thankfully though, they were also pretty short lived and as the ‘90s dawned “Cool Cymru” quickly became a phrase to bandy around whenever the music press got the whiff of any new band from over the Severn Bridge, and Newport (via the Legendary TJ’s venue) earned comparisons to the then very much in vogue Seattle, spawning such bands as Dub War, 60ft Dolls, Flyscreen and Novocaine in the process, all of whom were snapped up by a major label looking to sign the next big thing.
Here in 2020 and with the UK music industry post lockdown now sailing rather precariously through unchartered waters, the cynic in me can almost sense a return to those bad old days of the 80s, which also made me lose all hope of finding anything exciting enough to get me writing again.
That was until I heard ‘Lies to Tell Your Children’ by Stay Voiceless.
Four years on from first being blown away by their profoundly off-kilter ‘Those Kids Have No Idea Whatsoever Of What Went On At Stalingrad’ single, this all new ten tracker demands you to sit up and listen right from the very first chord, acting like some kind of clarion call for those of us who’ve simply had a fucking gut’s full of the here and now, plus hidden not so deeply within the grooves of the sublime ‘Where’s Our Summer Revolution’ we also now have our call to arms.
Utilising the studio skills of ex-Novocaine man Richard Jackson (who has previously worked with the likes of The Automatic, Young Legionnaire and Future Of The Left) along with Jamie Young for ‘Lies to Tell Your Children’ is quite possibly the band’s masterstroke here though, as this is also one of the finest sounding Independent records I’ve heard all year (the thump of Andrew Edwards’ bass on album closer ‘Something For Now’ really has to be heard to be believed) and if ‘Stalingrad’ acted as my gateway drug then opener ‘They Don’t Make Prisons Like They Used To’ immediately has me back on the Voiceless gear. I really can’t help thinking that this is maybe what The Guns or Exit_International might have sounded like if they had been afforded a major label budget – but let’s not forget this is a self-financed release – and this track is a huge (but natural) sonic leap for Stay Voiceless, and when I say the band they most remind me of is little known (well here in the UK anyway) Swedish alt-rockers Division of Laura Lee then I really do mean that as a complement.
As the album progresses ‘We’re Not Lovers’, ‘Slaves & Silicone’ and first single from the album ‘I Am Weight’ all bear the buzzsaw guitar trademarks of many a ‘90s TJ’s headliner whereas ‘Comfortable’ and ‘Little Fixes’ see Stay Voiceless embracing the post-punk early ‘00s influences of their former bands while also revealing an underlying pop sheen. ‘Postmadonna’ though, is for me, where Stay Voiceless sound at their most lethal with guitarist/vocalist Chris Morgan, drummer Cerys Bennet and bassist Andrew Edwards powering along like Andy Cairns, Fyfe Ewing and Michael McKeegan at their chart bothering best.
‘Lies to Tell Your Children’ channels all of the energy of Stay Voiceless live (something I would suggest you do tout suite once it is safe to do so again) and hits you straight between the eyes, it really is like a juggernaut packed full of angst and rebellion being joyridden through your council estate at three in the morning with the next generation of Rassau freedom fighters behind the wheel.
‘Lies to Tell Your Children’ It’s released on August 7th 2020 on limited edition 12” white vinyl, gatefold digipak CD and download via the link below. So, never mind the bollocks going on in the here and now boys and girls, here’s Stay Voiceless and they are the future, your future.
You have been warned!
Buy It here – Bandcamp
Author: Johnny Hayward