The bulk of this self-titled album appears to be the work of a man only...
Adam Webb 2007-06-29
He’s hairier than Grinderman, scuzzier than The Stooges and a barfly the equal of Shane MacGowan….so just who is this Tenebrous Liar? Why, none other than famed rock photographer (and, according to the press release, ‘known bender’) Steve Gullick – in-house snapper for the likes of NME and Plan B for the past decade or so. The aforementioned PR bumf proceeds to describe his band’s sound as ‘like having your womb scraped out’ – a fairly unappealing analogy, but, after a solitary listen, an understandable one. For while Gullick is undoubtedly an immense talent with a camera in his hand, his musicianly abilities are slightly more suspect.
The bulk of this self-titled album appears to be the work of a man only freshly-acquainted with the art of music-making. Certainly, at least half of it sounds like someone picking up a guitar and singing into a microphone for the first time. While drunk as a Lord and dribbling.
Whether such naiveté charms or appalls, the results are willfully lo-fi and mostly akin to a particularly torturous poetry reading set to the most rudimentary of instrumental backing. You can imagine close family giving it a sympathetic nod, but anyone outside Gullick’s circle will find the likes of “Torch Your Thoughts” and “Blow My Mind” painfully difficult to swallow.
Elsewhere, “Yellow Moon” and “Drinking Man” at least show chinks of imagination – the former has a nice harmonica line, anyway - but they too collapse into a dirge of half-hearted slurs, half-baked ideas and foggy guitars. As a vanity project Tenebrous Liar is passable, but by the time “Blow My Mind” wraps things up - all 7 min 30 of it - you’re on the verge of banging on the neighbour’s door and begging them to turn off the bloody racket.