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Liar, Flower

Geiger Counter (One Little Indian)

The name Katie Jane Garside isn’t perhaps as well known among the indie kids on this side of the Atlantic as it is in Britain, but that really needs to change. Garside first came to the public’s attention with the band Daisy Chainsaw (in existence between 1989 and ’95) — particularly the Eleventeen album and the accompanying “Love Your Money” single.

Garside and songwriter/guitarist Crispin Gray were working together again in 1999 when they formed Queen Adreena. Where Daisy Chainsaw were snotty and mildly cartoonish, there was a dark, ethereal beauty about Queen Adreena’s gothic rock that saw them pull in a more metallic fanbase. They released four excellent albums between 2000 and ’08, then split at the turn of the decade. There were other bands in between and afterwards (Lalleshwari, Ruby Throat, etc), but none made the same sort of impact.

So liar, flower (the lower case seems to be deliberate font styling, as is the trend these days) is Garside’s latest project and Geiger Counter her latest release. Sonically, it sits somewhere between those two aforementioned bands; it’s not as crunchy as Queen Adreena but it’s certainly darker and more gloriously awkward than Daisy Chainsaw. On the accompanying press release, she writes:

This record was conceived and collected through a year of submersive meditation, trance and improvisation, insisted by my bird bones insisting, i went down deep into the soil, set alight corrupt files and malware, something needed routing out taking me ever deeper

there is a prescience to this record that we are not entirely sure what to do with…

Regardless of the band, Garside has always been a captivating performer and a hypnotic vocalist. She manages to convey multiple emotions within one word — each bend of a syllable leading us somewhere new.

Naysayers have found her to be contrived, maybe a little too self-aware, but that’s also missing the point. Garside is completely self-aware — a beautiful dichotomy of strength and vulnerability. She knows precisely who she is even if, especially if, the critics don’t and that’s to be applauded.

These 12 songs are a full journey. Wistful, delicate thoughtfulness gives way to pain, and then turns full circle again. You hear elements of Kate Bush, then Portishead, then Bjork. It’s like we’ve been allowed in Garside’s head for a good rummage through her psyche for a while.

It all feels deeply personal — enough so that it almost feels like we’re prying at times. But rest assured, Garside is a woman fully in control and she’s revealing exactly what she wants to. It’s always been this way.

 

(One Little Indian)

LA Weekly