Lianne Hall used to be a punk. She was a member of Witchknot but I rather think that she was punk in the way that The Stranglers were; embracing the ethos but having rather superior musical skills. She’s originally from Peterborough and lived in Brighton before moving to Berlin. After her punk days she was into alt-folk and electronica and The Caretaker is her fourth solo album. I tell you all this because it goes some way to explaining the style and autobiographical nature of this album. It’s not a record that you’re necessarily going to get on first hearing.
The album title and the song ‘The Last Song Of The Caretaker’ stem from Lianne’s last days in Brighton when she was caretaker of the West Hill Hall and occasionally gigged there. It contains some wonderfully matter-of-fact lines about sweeping the floors and locking up before leaving for the last time. She says that she “used to be a pillar of my community”. ‘Amp On Fire’ is another true story – who’d be a musician?
The underlying theme of the record is transition and the courage it takes to change your life. The Caretaker was recorded in Berlin in as few takes as possible with lots of percussion, keyboards and electric guitars; not played in a rock style but echoing, bell-like notes. The recording was strictly analogue except for the CD transfer but it is suggested that the best way to hear it is on vinyl. The other two guitarists are Felix Müller and co-producer Alexander Paulick with drums and percussion courtesy of Sebastian Vogel and Nolan Churn and between them all they produce a wonderfully spacey sound, hypnotic in places that is epitomised in the closing song ‘The Ocean Is Broken’.
From my first hearing of Lianne a few weeks ago, I knew I was going to like her music and I was right.
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Artist’s website: www.liannehall.com