Release date 11th of May 2019
Reviews by Sue Davidson
A protest song about the ever-widening gap between the haves and have nots that exists in the world today. The song starts with a simple guitar riff that sets off a melancholic vibe which is not surprising considering the song’s subject matter. The first verse delves into the notion of the human condition becoming more indifferent and brutal in this modern era. Towards the end of the verse it laments how certain aspects of life that were once hopeful may have been lost in time forever, but the author hasn’t thrown their hands up in utter despair just yet. The chorus kicks in with an aggressive jolt and asks an angry question about how a lot of the world’s population live their lives as if they are looking through a glass wall, where on their side of it is a constant struggle to survive and exist whilst on the other side of the wall is an obscene amount of opulence that acts as a cruel form of torture to the majority of people.
The track Deranged was inspired by an estranged relative who probably should have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and whose psychopathic tendencies made life for Ivan and his family a living hell. That person made several attempts on Ivan’s life over the years and almost succeeded in one attempt when Ivan wrestled a gun out of their hands before they pulled the trigger. The gun went off, embedding a bullet in a set of drawers nearby. The song explores an inability to comprehend why certain individuals feel the need to go through their lives wreaking havoc on others and leaving a trail of pain, misery and destruction in their wake. The
chorus deals with a common form of psychological projection that happens when such individuals deflect responsibility for their misdeeds onto others, living in a state of pathological denial.
3. LIFE GOES ON
Written from the perspective and experiences of the brother of a long-time friend and collaborator from Keysborough, where Ivan grew up. The verses describe a brutal and quite violent side to this Melbourne suburb where there were a lot of gangs that showed no mercy to anyone who crossed their paths or got in their way. The second verse describes an incident in which the police had turned up at the house of a well-known and well-liked local guy “Eddy” and attempted to arrest him. While doing this they inadvertently shot and killed him. The chorus laments the tragic waste and sense of loss this incident caused the family and friends of the deceased. The lyrical hook and the title of the track inject a philosophical dimension, reflecting the stoicism and defiant refusal to be beaten by this tragedy demonstrated by all those who remained.
Track four on the album starts with a distinctive guitar intro to lead into the power chords and drums that provide the drive and energy to this song. The verses are written in a cryptic fashion to entice the listener into using their imagination to find their own interpretation of what is being conveyed. The pre chorus jumps into a change of rhythm and mood to complement the lyrics that express the frustration of not being able or allowed to speak one’s mind. It is highly cynical about the mainstream narrative that people are expected to live and act as if they see everything through rose coloured glasses. The chorus rather straightforwardly poses an antidote to all that, by describing the process of pouring out one’s soul on a page of A4 paper to relieve the anxiety of unrealistic and illogical expectations that get constantly rammed down people’s throats in this modern era.
5. SHAME ON YOU
Written in response to the way the news media deliberately manipulates footage and uses it to drive anger and outrage to the unsuspecting victims of this terrible and unconscionable deceit. It’s also an angry retort to all the keyboard warriors that have sent disgusting and threatening messages to the victims of this type of mob mentality. The pain and misery and loss of jobs and careers that has been instigated by these online lynch mobs is reprehensible and has caused the friends and family of the victims to suffer immensely. Hence the deliberately repetitive line “shame is all on you” throughout the song.
6. SHATTERED DREAMS
Inspired by a story about a country musician who traveled all the way to Nashville with a bunch of songs, an acoustic guitar, and lofty ambitions of becoming a huge star in the country music scene. After landing at the airport he hailed a cab to go to his motel room and soon discovered that the cab driver was a much better country singer than he could ever hope to be. All his dreams of becoming the next Johnny Cash were shattered on this one single cab ride. Two weeks later after various rejections he felt utterly deflated and demoralised, so he sold his guitar at the nearest pawn shop and booked the next available flight home.
7. THE GYPSY JOKER
Has its genesis in an experience Ivan had working on a building site as a brickies’ labourer. A group of construction workers came from Adelaide to work and took advantage of another labourer that Ivan was working with. After a few weeks things got dark and disturbed when one day they decided they were going to kill this guy and loaded several bags of lime in their car in order to dispose of the body. One of the guys claimed that he was associated with a notorious biker gang called the Gypsy Jokers – hence the title of the song.
8. ROCK THIS NIGHT AWAY
Is a classic rock track influenced by the likes of artists such as The Black Crows, Georgia Satellites, The Angels and many more. It sums up the experience of playing in the pub scene in Melbourne over a period of two decades. Even though the song has a standard rock feel to it rhythmically, lyrically it still manages keep a defiant alt/rock, grunge/punk edginess to it that separates it from being a typically clichéd rock standard.
9. BAD COMPANY
Relates to a time in Ivan’s life when he was struggling to find work and his parents had lost their jobs in a recession. The bank callously foreclosed on their mortgage, even taking the small amount of money that was to be used as a bond to rent another place. During this period Ivan was constantly pulled over by the police whilst driving around in a $400 piece of junk. Ivan received numerous fines that he was unable to pay so the amount of money owed quadrupled and he was eventually threatened with incarceration. It also led to his licence being cancelled without his knowledge which led to more hefty fines the next time he was pulled over. With all that weighing heavily on his shoulders he ended up making some poor decisions and eventually started to self-medicate to relieve some of the misery and sadness that he was experiencing, until one night at a house he used to frequent he was set upon by a group of shady characters and beaten to
the point where he couldn’t recognise himself in the mirror. The experience still haunts him years later.
10. LET IT GO
Starts out with a guitar intro reminiscent of bands such as Aussie alt/rockers The Church. The interplay between the drums and bass on this track gives it a driving energy and sonic power that leaps out of your speakers and instantly grabs your attention. The clever use of stops at the end of each pre chorus leads you into a powerful anthemic section of the composition. It’s one of those songs that you can picture yourself driving flat out down a freeway on a hot sunny day with the window wound down and the wind whistling through your hair in a hot rod or muscle car with the stereo cranked up to eleven.
LIARS, FREAKS & FOOLS is a retrospective album that oozes with the sort of defiant exuberance that you would expect from that title. The
album exists as part of an artist’s journey to reconnect with the reason why they were inspired to play and write music to begin with. It also serves as an antidote to all the meaningless, inauthentic, uninspiring and irrelevant music that occupies the mainstream. If ever there was a time in history to make such a bold and uncompromising statement in rock surely it was now. The fact that an album like Liars, Freaks & Fools is long overdue is a testament to how stale and uninteresting modern music has truly become due to the mass of insipid clones who create mediocre, throwaway white noise that is constantly churned out and rammed down people’s throats for what feels like an eternity.