Label: Big Scary Monsters
Released: 31st March 2023
The shared history of brothers Mike and Tim and cousin Nate Kinsella is so vast it’s hard to untangle all the knots. LIES – which features Mike and Nate – is another act to go into this family catalogue, alongside the likes of Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, Birthmark, Owls and Owen (to name a few).
Having most recently collaborated in the later American Football releases, LIES feels like an off-shoot of this – just with the reigns cut loose and the opportunity and ability to experiment pushed to the fore.
It means much of LIES – removed from the language of guitars, drums, and bass – sounds gorgeous and richly embellished to the point where it shines like jewels set in gilded silver. Compared to a traditional Owen record, it’s a considerable departure sonically, with Nate’s musicality and aptitude for lush arrangements given license to run wild and free.
It means easter eggs abound on a record where every note has been pored over. Against Mike Kinsella’s typically wrought self-flagellating lyrics, it makes for an exciting and engaging hybrid of pop chops and introspection. Sometimes they collide beautifully – like the sarcastic use of a party horn following the word ‘congratulations’ on ‘Broken’ or the intimate fireworks party recording on ‘Sympathetic Eyes’. It means there are many layers to ‘Lies’, which are there to be picked at and pulled apart.
The strongest compliment you can give LIES is that the record stands proudly on its own feet. There may be an echo of other Kinsella acts in there – which is unavoidable given the personnel – but it also represents something new and exciting for Mike and Nate too. Ultimately, LIES is a blank canvas for the duo, and in ‘Lies’ they’ve married experimentation and expression perfectly.