Big Phony actually teamed up with Enik Lin of IAMMEDIC for this effort with Enik taking Bobby's songs and producing the beats for most of the tracks. And Lin's collaboration returns a result that kind of reminds me of what happened when Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello teamed up for The Postal Service, with Enik's sometimes throbbing and sometimes breathy atmospheric production altering the texture of Big Phony's vocals and songs without actually changing the substance.
The difference in sound is apparent from the opening track, "A Charge to the Blood", which instantly drops the hum of the bass tone and electronic percussion. Yet Big Phony's initial sound isn't entirely absent as Big Phony's acoustic guitar shows up loops throughout the track and his voice only gets mild treatment, lyrics describing the titular experience.
The tracks here mostly in the moody or atmospheric mode, especially with the back to back "No Need to Hang Your Head", with its airy affected falsetto backing vocals and the sweeping sculpted noise runs with twinkling of electric keyboards, and the equally emotional "The Hours", which fills the arrangement with the gentle humming of synthesizers against a thumping muted bass heartbeat as Bobby pours out hints of desperation through his yearning vocals, electronic bleeps and bloops exploding like digital fireworks in the song's hope-touched chorus.
The most upbeat moment on Long Live the Lie is the title track with a four-to-the-floor bass thump and an electric snare and crystalline keyboards powering forward as Bobby displays perhaps his most animated vocal performance in the overdubbed rising chorus. Another deviation on the album includes the hardly augmented "Bedford Stop", which features an arrangement retains the core guitar-and-singing arrangement and just adds layers of strings and a few electronic flourishes. This leaves it sounding a great deal more organic than the other tracks on the album, even with its electronically touched production and so it doesn't really fit aurally with the other tracks even if the song is a lovely meditation on a fictional sister. Finally, the closing track, "Waiting on a Breeze (Without a Word)", has a kind of dynamic scope that you could even call modern rock with its soaring arrangement on the chorus and its moody verses, the hissing percussion breaking into drum machines and rose-synthesizers as it reaches its peak.
And all of this works so very well that it's a wonder that Big Phony hadn't already worked within the genre, although much credit should probably also go towards the transforming production and arrangement of Enik Lin. Enik manages to create soundscapes that work well with Big Phony's song, finding and enhancing moments of poignancy and elevating them with the electronic tools he has available. Big Phony's surprising musical experiment is an oft moving success with only the otherwise good "Bedford Stop" feeling out of place. Long live Long Live the Lie. 8/10
- A Charge to the Blood
- All Bets Are Off
- The Great I Am
- No Need to Hang Your Head
- The Hours
- Bedford Stop
- Long Live the Lie
- Help of a Ghost
- Empty Bottles
- Waiting on a Breeze (Without a Word)