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Misterlee - Night Of The Killer Longface

  by Helen Tipping

published: 8 / 2 / 2005

Misterlee - Night Of The Killer Longface
Label: Misterlee
Format: CD


Challenging, but highly original second album from Misterlee, the moniker for British songwriter Lee Allatson, "which defies comparison and refuses to stick to one particular musical reference"

I suppose the picture on the back of the CD with Misterlee frontman Lee Allatson doing a passable impression of Jack Nicholson maniacally grinning through the axed door in 'The Shining' should have been a clue of what to expect.  I put the CD in, and it is straight into the opening throaty scream of 'The Caligula Waltz' with no intro to ease the listener in.    There is some music that just cries out for an atmospheric listening to - so wait 'til dark and light your candles for this one.  Some of the other tracks prove to be strange uneasy listening, whilst some are easier to get along with.   'Magnesium Horses' leaves the darkness behind, for a slower, more thoughtful sound.  Tambourines jangle along, and I feel I've stepped back into late 80's, early 90's indie music but with weird synth sounds, I really liked this one.  'Apology' meanders and drifts along like a walk in the park in the rain on a Sunday afternoon, whilst the lyrics tell of a childhood epiphany.  'Natural Born Blond' actually has a kazoo - it reminds me of the man who used to play the kazoo in the underpass in Sheffield.   I always used to give him money, just for having the guts to do it!  The lyrics are sparse, but the music is happy and I have no idea what it's about.   'Job on a Bike' is a weird one. Is it about wasted lives?  Or is it that every life has been lived and who is anyone to judge whether it's been wasted?  Whatever, I'm sure it will mean something different depending on the listener.  Part way through 'Kind' I think my record has a scratch, then I remember - it's a CD and realise that it's there on purpose.  Misterlee like to use unusual instruments. There's a recorder too on this one. This experimentation with different sounds and putting them together in ways you wouldn't expect makes it an enthralling listen.   So onto 'Fortune Telling Agnes,' playing scales on the piano, this is sparse instrumentally, and amusing lyrically.  'Broken Shrine Mirrors' is another indie sounding track. This is slow and I loved the guitar on it.' Black Soul' has its roots in the blues of the Deep South, but with a certain amount of funkiness that you wouldn't normally expect from the blues, lyrically dark, but not goth.  'Lazified' puts me in mind of the experimentation that Bauhaus got up to on their 'Burning from the Inside' album. 'Goodbye Lullaby' could be sung on a Hawiaian island at the end of a holiday, with a simple ukelele strumming & whistling.  It's a good one to end on.   Misterlee's album is an eclectic mix, but it works.  It's more like poetry set to music, but even the music is a form of poetry in that it is not conventional and pushes the limits of what the listener expects. At a time when everyone is the next someone, Misterlee is pursuing an originality which defies comparison and refuses to stick to one particular musical reference.

Track Listing:-
1 The Caligula Waltz
2 Magnesium Horses
3 Apology
4 Natural Born Blond
5 Job On A Bike
6 Kind
7 Fortune Telling Agnes
8 Broken Shrine Mirrors
9 Black Soul
10 Lazified
11 Goodbye Lullaby

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Interview (2005)
Misterlee - Interview
Experimental Leicester band Misterlee recently self-released their second album 'Night of the Killer Longface'. Helen Tipping speaks to them about being part of the anti-folk movement and how they self-promote themselves

live reviews

Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005
Misterlee - Washington, Sheffield, 14/4/2005
Despite a sparse audience at new and under-promoted venue the Sheffield Washington, Helen Tipping watches Misterlee, "one of the UK's more unusual band, rise to the occasion and put on an empassioned performance

digital downloads


This Disquiet Dog (2010)
Oddball, but effective and gripping third album from Leicester-based experimental act, Misterlee
Bootlegger (This is Not a Lifestyle Sandwich) (2007)

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