The great thing about this latest track from 4IV is the anticipation and atmosphere that it builds. The video is almost a mini film in its own right, moving from opening credits to a narrative laying out the theme of what is to follow and then a finger-picked acoustic interlude and it is a full 1 minute 25 seconds before the song kicks in proper. And by the time it does, you are not sure what you are going to get but you are ready for it, whatever it might be.
What you get is a slow-grooving, hard rocker but one which seems less like the product of the modern age but more influenced by older psychedelic urges and garage rock attitudes, not to mention some proggy vibes particularly as the solo coils and cascades through the heart of the song.
But 4IV don’t play the nostalgia game, The Liar isn’t some rehash of the sounds and sonic sentiments of times passed but it does come with its own individual set of influences. These it uses to build something that feels both a part of the current alt-rock scene and also navigating a parallel course. It is at turns ornate and spacious, powerful and poignant, hard and heavy, dark and delicious. There is also something passionate and emploring about the earnestness of the vocals, a far cry from the pout and posturing of most modern rock music.
And even once properly underway, the band plays things wonderfully straight. An on-off, gnarly riff, depth-charge bass pulses and skittering drum fills build a solid and straight-forward rhythmic platform, topped and tailed by the aforementioned delicate acoustica.
It is an interesting package, the video adding a sense of mystery to the musical proceedings. A simple narrative setup of a relationship breakup resolves at the end of the film as something far darker than you might have imagined, posing more questions than it answers. Which is always cool.
If rock music is to have a future, then it needs to find, perhaps not new places to go, you can make a good argument for the genre having found its perfect form many years ago, but certainly new ways of doing things. Alt-rock, in particular, seems to have become fixated with its own image and is now the playground of skinny-jeaned posers with identikit biker jackets and all the right fashion brands. This is not that, not by a long shot.
Perhaps it is the dark and claustrophobic vibe that swirls through the song, perhaps it is that their influences seem to be so behind the curve that they are actually way ahead of it, music is cyclical, after all. Perhaps it is that they seem unaffected by fad or fashion. Perhaps, and I suspect this to be the real reason, 4IV think differently and have the ability to write damn good songs! I know which one my money is on.