Half Notes: The Jesus Lizard – Liar (1992)

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Most people, when they look at me, think I’m probably one of those types who, if they get into music at all, go for the Kenny G, lite-jazz, adult-contemporary pablum — the type of stuff that people who don’t really like music get into because it gives them something to stand behind when conversations steer toward music interests. (Of course, these same people don’t realize that the very fact of listing the likes of Kenny G, et al., exposes their true inner apathy toward music.) But no, my true interests tend to be quite a bit more extreme than that, and out at the edge of my interests is the Jesus Lizard. It’s aggressive, forboding, angry music by a band fronted by a man who sounds like he can just barely sing and does so with his hands clenched around his mouth lending a muted dullness to the edge to his yelping. I actually really enjoy the Jesus Lizard because, well, their lyrics are pretty funny. Disturbing, but funny. In an age where many bands proudly wear faux anger on their sleeves, a band like Jesus Lizard is sadly nonexistent, having broken up twice — once in 1999 and then again after a reunion in 2008-09. Because what most of the today’s bands lack is the pure, very real menace a band like the Jesus Lizard could muster without the slightest bit of work. Menace is the Jesus Lizard’s MO. And when they do work at it, as on an album like Liar, the menace is deafening.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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