The Australian singer/songwriter Liam Linley blends rock n’ roll with folk and in this way churns out songs that sound like they are perfectly nestled into this genre. This is not to say that these songs don’t have a stamp of their own, but only to say that the specific sound which Linley is seeking seems to be sought out with a very careful emphasis on the genre.
Linley had usually always written songs in collaboration with his other bandmates so on his debut solo record, the six-song EP In the Course of Love, he had to go about things on his own. He spent about a year working on writing the songs featured on this EP and it’s easy to tell that they’ve been well worn out over time, before they were set to tape as he finished off the last half of 2017 supporting Tim Rogers at the Thornbury Theatre. The result is that the songs on In the Course of Love have this great sense of perfection to them, and also have that feeling of being fleshed out so much that they seem to be sung in that confident second nature that only time and skill can give an artist.
The opening track “Soaking Cherries” has a bit of the pop folk twang that Wilco began with so long ago, but there’s also this great mastering of storytelling that Linley’s lyrics and vocals have. His songs are much bigger than that of the average singer/songwriter type who thinks that just strumming an acoustic guitar and singing about heartbreak makes them an artist. The title track “Course of Love” which is beautifully and gently orchestrated is a perfect place to point. Reminiscent of an artist like Elliot Smith, Linley knows how song craft works, where to put certain things, when to speak and when to let the music do the speaking.
Not everything here is all sappy heartbroken folk though. There is the upbeat and very much A.M. period Wilco on the alt country rocker, “Used to You” and the melodic and feel good folk of “Tripping on My Toes a Lot,” which just ripples with so much emotion and heart that its left resonating in your head long after its over.
Liam Linley’s In the Course of Love is a supreme and eclectic record of well-polished folk songs which bristles with real feeling, something which I find to be amiss in so much of this genre. It’s nice to know that there are those like Liam Linley who are out there working hard and making sure that there are still standouts to be heard. And In the Course of Love is a record that should be heard repeatedly.
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