Liquid Meat are good friends of Cat on the Wall – that’s evidenced by vocalist Freddie Mack‘s repeated reappearances on our digital pages. Whether it be an interview regarding his family connections to music history, or his occasional ‘rant and roll’ feature, he shares a lot of our opinions and ideas when it comes to the often underwhelming world of modern rock music.
Filthy, aggressive, but approached with a great professionalism, Liquid Meat are everything that captures – and subverts – the rocky, liquor drenched dunes of guitar, bass and drums. There’s always been this fantastic ability in their releases to act like a time capsule of a time that, perhaps, never really was: and with their – what I like to call – iconographic take on the genre, a record that outright works to create old-school rock music from the group is sure to carry a certain amount of pedigree. With the world acclaimed Reinhold Mack taking the reins of production once again, and a brand new line up, you’ve got a vast potential for a very bona-fide look back at the old days of simple riffs and anthemic chorus.
Does it hold up? Well, it’s certainly a convincing facade. Everything here feels as authentic, rowdy and whisky fuelled as a wood-panelled bar in the middle of fuck-knows-where back in the 80s. There’s fights, there’s someone face down in white powder, and I’m fairly sure that truck driver has just killed someone with a bottle. It’s all part and parcel, and the record’s atmosphere recaptures it perfectly.
The hallmarks of Freddie Mack‘s style are all there – phlegmy, rough vocals and an approach that’s uninterested in being overly polished, overly produced or overly complex. The result is a wholly approachable, but personality packed record that doesn’t try to imitate the golden days of rock music – and instead works to proliferate it. It’s very much its own; rough around the edges and happily unkempt – and with such talent on the record it’s no wonder that the result maintains its individuality with such immense vigour and pride.
Easing itself in, we start with fairly familiar territory. That Liquid Meat material we all know and love. But, as the album builds – and it is quite a short little package at seven tracks – it grows larger in scale and larger in depth. It has a foot in every door of the genre’s past, steadily climbing further up its own ladder to the golden years.
In its second half in particular, the album pumps out some deep, hefty, chugging sounds and catchy, hard-hitting rhythms that I’m almost – dare I say it? No, I shouldn’t…
I’m almost reminded of the good side of KISS.
As in, the genuinely good stuff that Gene Simmons helmed. Long-term friends and followers will know that’s the side of America’s irritatingly catchy glam rock tossers I adore, and what – in my opinion – propelled them into greatness – and it’s a similar filthy, deep toned growling flavour that really, really works in Liquid Meat’s favour.
By far, the highest hitters for me are Sun Child, Rock and Roll Dream Machine and Livin – the latter two of which, I feel, really capture what I mean – that golden age of slightly sleazy, slightly excessive – but beautifully executed- glammy rock music with a certain size and scale. A weight, a style, and a sense of something a little bit bigger and more impressive than one might be fully prepared for. It feels like we’re hearing its own ascension.
It takes the record time, but as it boots up, track-by-track, it soon finds its footing and creates something truly beyond what we’ve heard from the band before – no doubt partially fuelled by that new line up. All recorded in one room – as it should be – with very little retakes, The beauty of Liquid Meat doing ‘classic rock and roll’ is that it keeps the best of their own personality and blends it with that glorious time of slightly campy, completely over the top and sublimely written rock music.
Is it going to win awards? No. But then, there’s very little of the golden age of rock that really did deserve awards. What it wins is its own claims and its audience. It deserves its swaggering, tough-talking character – and it deserves to be heard. It really isn’t imitating – it’s rubbing shoulders with the greats, providing an individual, characteristic entry in its own right. It would slot beautifully into those years when rock and roll was king. And as a result, achieves absolutely everything it seems to be out to do.
This is Liquid Meat, and they’ll be playing you rock and roll tonight. Sit back, crack open a beer, and enjoy…