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A serious threat to "serious" musos - Liam Lynch: muso of many masks

2006-03-29 18:15

Liam Lynch is making a lot of "serious" musicians very jealous. His first single, the comedic "United States of Whatever" is getting radio play all over the world. He's worked with all three living Beatles, the Foo Fighters and No Doubt. He has directed and produced several short films and DVDs as well as a show on MTV. To make matters worse for purists he seems to be having so much fun doing it all.

Lynch's debut album, Fake Songs, is a collection of musical parodies that would make Weird Al Yankovich proud. Written, produced and recorded by Lynch on a shoestring budget, many of the tracks were originally released on the Internet during 2000. When his tracks started to appear (illegally) on request lists at radio stations around the world, the recording companies started to take notice. By 2002 Lynch had his first record deal.

More than a parody

Unlike Weird Al, Lynch is not content just to parody lyrics. He tweaks the musical backing of his subjects highlighting every self-indulgent urge and every pretentious chord. With lyrics like 'I'm sort of maybe hassled' and 'The stars are all teasing me' "Fake Bjork Song" is a hilarious and uncannily accurate dig at the Icelandic pop queen. "Fake David Bowie Song" is laugh-out-loud funny ('Sorry mom, I'm 5 years to late for team time') while "Fake Pixies Song" is so faithful it could almost be a real Pixies track.

However the album is more than just a collection of cheap shots at mainstream music. Apart from the superbly ironic "United States of Whatever", Fake Songs has several other great original tracks. In the bluesy "Electricians Day" Lynch is a clearly mocking his own musical shortcomings. "Rock and Roll Whore", a lovingly crafted rock-opera duet with Jack Black, has some of the funniest lines on the album.

There are also a couple of awful songs. Both "Fake Talking Heads Song" and "Fake Depech Mode Song" narrowly miss their mark and end up sounding like cheap tribute tracks. "Happy" and "Horny Kind of Love" are just irritating, even the first time you listen to them.

But be warned...

In its field Fake Songs is nothing short of brilliant. Lynch's parodies of four decades of popular culture are both achingly funny and uncomfortably true. That said the album remains reflection of music rather than music in itself. So however good it is, it does not stand up to repeat daily listenings.

That said, Fake songs is still a must have for pop-culture lovers. Many of Lynch's tracks will be as funny in 20 years as they are now. The album also includes a DVD crammed with music videos, behind the scenes material and humour. And if Lyam Lynch lives up to even half his potential, Fake Songs will probably be a collectors item in twenty years.

This is musical satire, but more than that. It's good listening too.

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