Li’l Andy “All The Love Songs Lied To Us” (Sainte Cécile Records, 2019)

The ghost of Leonard Cohen looms large over the new album by Montreal’s Li’l Andy – in fact, the music for the title track, ‘All The Love Songs Lied To Us’, is based on Cohen’s 1984 song ‘Coming Back To You.’  The similarities don’t end there – like fellow Canadian, ‘Laughing Len’, Andy is a singer-songwriter with a rich, deep voice who tackles subjects such as love, loss and war.

A country-noir crooner, he has admitted that the production and style of Cohen’s early albums shaped the sound of this record – it’s as if Andy’s got hold of his hero’s famous blue raincoat and is trying it on for size…

‘All The Love Songs Lied To Us’ – the song – is a wry, amusing and cynical look at how romance has been represented – and misrepresented  – in pop songwriting.

Over a sparse arrangement of pedal steel and strings, Andy takes a swipe at Macca and The Beatles – “All the love songs lied to us – they said, ‘love is all you need’ – if the world was only as simple as Paul McCartney would have you believe…”

On the honky tonk song  ‘Ahhhhhh… Loneliness’,  he comes across like a Hank Williams for the social media generation – “again at the diner, on my own, I’m having breakfast with my phone” “I’m up in the morning and on the Internet – whatever affirmation that I can get…” 

Your tweeting heart, anyone?

The dramatic ‘Limestone Song’ is pure Cohen – a graveside lament with haunting, mournful violin, while ‘This Is Heartbreak’ is heavy with gallows humour – “I want to die and I hope you’ll be a mess – I want to see you at my funeral – I want to see you in a little black dress.”

Death crops up again on ‘The Lives of Others’ , but the song is one of the album’s more throwaway moments – a breezy, catchy country bossanova featuring Ariel Engle of Broken Social Scene.

‘All The Love Songs Lied To Us’ is funny, moving, morbid and romantic – there might be a tear in Andy’s beer and, judging by the album artwork, an arrow through his heart, but more often that not, there’s also a tongue in his cheek…

Leonard Cohen hanging out with Hank Williams in a late-night, roadside diner and singing songs for the lost and the lonely

About Sean Hannam 76 Articles
Freelance journalist, editor and presenter. Digs retro specs,The Smiths,Dylan,Cash,Richard Hawley, Scott Walker, Lee Hazlewood, country / Americana and '50s/'60s pop.
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