“I want to hear true adolescent rage, I want to be inspired, I want to see something change.” Billy Liar’s plea for passion during anti-industry protest anthem ‘Change’ certainly chimes a chord with most listeners.
Billy Liar is the Edinburgh-based frontman of his band, who go by the same name. They’ve been at it since 2007; this is their third EP, and they play acoustic-driven folk punk. Oddly though, that final track on new three-song EP All I’ve Got is the only one on the recording with a rebellious spirit. Title tune ‘All I’ve Got’ is a giddy love ballad; a twee recollection of a whirlwind romance with a duet that’s more Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton than Johnny Cash and June Carter.
That particular number features the lyric “I know you barely know me, my banter’s pretty weak, but you are all I’ve got and you mean everything to me.” A positively molotov cocktail-igniting sentiment it is not.
Sandwiched in the middle is ‘Sleep’, the most appropriately titled of the three, as it is literally about trying to get to sleep. If you’re having trouble trying to sleep yourself I would advise listening to this track as there is something strangely soporific about listening to someone sing dreamily about insomnia.
It comes across like the ditty to an advert, possibly for sleeping tablets or Horlicks, and again seems a little at odds with the spiky, disillusioned sentiment of the final track. It sounds like Billy Liar is torn. Part of him wants to tear down the establishment and crowd-surf, and the rest just wishes someone would pay him.
He may be onto something though. At a time when folk-rock is undergoing something of a revival what with Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and that new Cohen brothers film, this may be the perfect time to unclench fists and just sail with the wind.
With catchy songs such as these that get their claws into your conscious and make the perfect dinner party soundtrack-cum-radio friendly hit, Billy Liar are choosing their future path wisely without forgetting their roots.