City Slang (label)
06 November 2017 (released)
06 November 2017
Pop culture is a tried and tested way of looking back and constructing a narrative of how things ‘were’ in the past.
Things considered passé and naff within a year gain cultural traction in later years as events are (re)membered and (re)cycled and now there’s the added ability to retrieve and recall via the use of gadgetry. The shorthand is thus: the 50s was drab before the technicolour of rock and roll and the creation of affluent teen, the 60s was all Carnaby Street swinging and spiritual enlightenment, the 70s was glam, chaos and strikes; to wit media shapes and moulds what Raymond Williams termed ‘structure of feeling’.
The trendiest ‘past-modernism’ right now is the 1980s. Time heals and history sells, commodified nostalgia for an age that’s arrived: the 80s © are back (again)!* Call it the Stranger Things effect, a fabricated celluloid version of an ‘American’ history unlived by its practitioners**, a screen-dream imagining full of movie tropes and signifiers: culture as experienced through tech-prisms, false memories implanted into the perception-points of the young and restless. So far so Phillip K. Dick (who died in 1982). Of which …
1982 saw the release of Blade Runner, a dystopic glance forwards to … erm … today’s universal uncertainty; ‘Life is dangerous’ has the aura of Vangelis’s replicant romance-them, an affecting and effective wires crossing, sparks flying.
The titular ‘1982’ has era-echoes of Modern English, a British band that hit big in the US via MTV in … 1982.
In 1982 magic-man David Copperfield appeared in an advert for Kodak cameras (with Madeline Stowe, film fans), he’s like a polaroid-android Rick Deckard, a no Dickens about gumshoe who ‘captures’ the girl. Liima’s ode to the wicked wizard is a synth-analogue-o-rhythm akin to Tangerine Dream’s work for Michael Mann’s films.
There’s a division of joy in the retro-futuristic ‘People like you’, exemplary electro-whining matched by ominous throbbing. The result a new order of things playing in the shadows.
‘2 Hearted’ is a (Dr) who’s who of vocoder robo-coda. The games console consoles on ‘Kirby’s Dream Land’, all Hall & Oates funk-droid-zak.
Roy Batty’s dream-like diatribes dominate ‘Jonathan, I can’t tell you’ our protagonist imploring that ‘I didn’t train for this world’ before a beseeching ‘swimming in a sea of clouds’. Gnomic utterances from the cyber-gutter
This is a hauntological album that addresses ‘not fitting in’ which is suitably fitting for these cyclically wearying and psychically warring times. Sometimes going back is the only way to move forwards, Liima have achieved that.
*Albums in 2017 from The War on Drugs and John Maus both equally affect that pre-programmed plasticity to equal effect
**yeah, I know Mel Gibson wasn’t around in Jesus’s day, but …