The work of SIRR is one that kind of eschews classification, and that does not (and should not) matter. Ultimately, Liar Cake at the intersection of pop, hip-hop and electronic — though it bears some hallmarks of the three genres, it occupies a space few artist are willing to inhabit.
It’s funny that this album is called Liar Cake, because the work of SIRR most closely resembles the work of the seminal band Cake. The main difference, however, is Mark O’Connor’s use of Creative Commons-licensed samples, which are used to infuse the songs in many different ways, two of which have a bit of Latin American flavour because of them.
The album is a challenge, first and foremost — it dares you to churn through your thoughts as he sometimes sings, sometimes narrates, through glimpses of the apocalypse, emotional perspectives on the world we live in and the brevity of life.
Some songs seem designed to ponder deeply. “Dance Crazed,” for example, is not much more than a bit of guitar and simple percussion with repetitions of “I’m gonna do the” followed by (presumably) the name of a dance, then a chorus about “all those crazy dances sweeping ‘cross the land.” There’s “Curly Whirly,” one of the aforementioned Latin-flavoured songs about how great life seems to be, but O’Connor’s vocal delivery always seems to come with a sneer, as though there’s always a second layer to anything he mentions.
O’Connor is a bit of a chameleon, going for old-timey creepiness in “Doctor Pleasure,” dreamy poetry in “Blue World” and politically angry in “The World is Coming to an End.” He’s especially subversive in “Cure for Cancer,” which applies his idiosyncratic narration to what could be a love song, turning a tired cliché completely on its head.
Yep, Liar Cake is totally weird, but it’s the kind of mind-expanding weirdness we need more of.
Top Tracks: “Doodlysquat”; “Blue World”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)