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Baker's Dozen

No Barrier Fun: Angus Andrew Of Liars' Favourite LPs
Luke Turner , April 16th, 2014 05:03

Liars have always been masters of mixing a boggling array of influences into a music that's unhinged, inventive and powerful. Here, Angus Andrew guides us through 13 of his favourite LPs, running the gamut from hip hop to smooth jazz and The Cure

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Michael Franks - The Art Of Tea
The fact is I can completely understand many people reading this might hate this record. It may even stand for everything they hate about music. An artist and a group of songs that could quite easily be labelled 'elevator music' or 'smooth jazz'. That's ok. This record is important to me. Michael Franks is important to me. 

I was first introduced to him by my dad. Growing up our household wasn't particularly musical. Sure my parents owned a bunch of Beatles records that I ploughed through but beyond that we weren't really 'vibing' together on any classic rock hits or cool 80s groups. I was left to my own devices and was happy to let 3 Feet High And Rising play non-stop in my bedroom.

One day though, my dad, quite out of the blue, brought home a CD. He sat me down and said, "Look, I don't know what that stuff is that you're listening to all day but this right here is pure gold."

Well, I thought, this should be interesting. My dad is quite the wordsmith and his claim was that this music had the best lyrics he'd ever heard. I was intrigued. On first glance I had to admit the title of the record and the cover were alluring. The Art of Tea sounded like some pure hippy shit and the guy sitting cross-legged on the cover even more so but still for some reason the simplicity of it all, the black and white photograph, the blank expression, the guy's name - it all just kind of worked for me and so I went into my first listen of the songs with an open mind. 

Well, no sooner had I finished listening to the second track 'Eggplant', I was hooked.

Yes, the music was a slinky mixture of swing and jazz that made me feel a little more mature than my years but it was the lyrics and Franks' smooth delivery that caught me off guard. It was weird - they were a little racy! "Maybe it's the way she grates her cheese/ or just the freckles on her knees/ Maybe it's the scallions/ maybe she's Italian /I can't pronounce her name, but eggplant is her game". I kind of didn't know if I should feel creeped out that my dad was sharing this with me or chuffed that he would want to. In any case the lyrics, as promised, were nifty. "You've got the nicest North America /This sailor ever saw /I'd like to feel you're warm Brazil/ And touch your Panama."  

Needless to say I became the youngest Michael Franks aficionado in my town. I'd rock up to stoner hang outs and play 'Eggplant' and 'Popsicle Toes' to my friends in-between bouts of Black Sabbath and NWA. They'd all be like - "Whaa?" Even nowadays I'll whip this gem out backstage and play it to some uninitiated lot, blowing their minds with the possibilities of smooth jazz.


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