Music

Thea Gilmore: Liejacker

"This isn’t really me", she says, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. And then she offers intimate, personal details of her thoughts and feelings about herself and the state of the world.


Thea Gilmore

Liejacker

Label: Rykodisc
US Release Date: 2008-09-23
UK Release Date: 2008-05-19
Amazon
iTunes

Think of the liar paradox, when someone tells you that she always tells lies. Does that mean she’s telling you the truth now, or would that also be a lie? Who knows when the deception stops, or are lies really a higher form of truth?

The title of Thea Gilmore’s latest album, Liejacker, lets you know that she’s trying to foist wrong impressions. "This isn’t really me", she says, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. And then she offers intimate, personal details of her thoughts and feelings about herself and the state of the world.

“Darling you don’t know me / Don’t think you ever will”, Gilmore sings coyly at the beginning of the soulful track “Roll On”. Then she starts singing about love, sex, and death. “If it’s truth you want / I have this great disguise”, she croons later in the song. Has she been leading you on, or is everything she says so nakedly honest that she can’t admit it? It’s clear she has been communicating from a very deep place. “Roll On” bleeds with passionate intensity.

Gilmore isn’t content to explore personal mysteries. She wonders if the idea of a supreme being is the greatest illusion of all. She uses biblical imagery on “And You Shall Know No Other God But Me” to explore the nature of addiction and the higher spirit. No twelve-step program is going to cure her ills, but she cannot not believe in something else either, even if she’s just chasing shadows or looking into a mirror. This is heavy stuff.

The songs work because Gilmore uses a skillful, literate sensibility at writing lyrics and a rich, supple voice to convey her sentiments. While her vocals may betray an ache that comes from the pain of living, she never strains for a note. Even when she duets with the legendary songbird Joan Baez, Gilmore holds her own. The two exchange verses on “The Low Road” and complement each other’s singing before joining together in beautiful harmony (while the Waterboy’s Steve Wickham provides a lilting fiddle accompaniment). The result comes off sounding like a lovely, old traditional folk song instead of the original Gilmore composition that it is.

Gilmore is also a deft, creative instrumentalist. She employs several guitars, a Dobro, ukulele, mandolin, and a harmonium at different times to create distinct effects. She uses whatever works in service to the song and the mood sought. The atmosphere on a song like the spirited “Dance in New York” is so thick that one can metaphorically breathe in the tenement smells of the past along with the airiness of present-day studio loft apartments. The British citizen Gilmore makes the streets of Manhattan come alive in a way that combines past, present, and future.

The dozen original songs on the release (the UK version contains a bonus track, a cover of the New Wave dance hit, “You Spin Me Right Round”) prove that the 28-year-old Gilmore is a seriously talented writer and performer. This is her eighth album in ten years. She sounds far wiser than her age. Her voice also bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox. Would I lie to you, honey?

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.