Track of the Week: I Am The Liquor – 454

Very few could’ve seen or predicted the international impact and influence that Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys has had since its launch in 2001. The Swearnet heads and lead characters scarcely could’ve imagined it too. Yet here we are, nearly two decades since its launch and barring a few years break since its original seven season run, and Trailer Park Boys still broadcasts annual seasons, which in a day and age of binge-watching, streaming services, and rapid proliferation of premium TV series ushering in a home screen renaissance, is unprecedented. The now infamous line uttered from chronic alcoholic Jim Lahey, portrayed by the late John Dunsworth, ‘Randy, I am the liquor,’ said with a smirk and a swig of whiskey between the namesake of his male lover, and acknowledging that alcoholism just may be driving him to have his fellow residents murdered, is iconic in certain pop culture circles. Obviously to the point, where these three gentlemen from Richmond, Virginia have lifted it to front their band. One aside to paying homage to this long-running show, and a beloved and dearly missed character, is that alcohol is not the only vice pulled into the limelight. Aficionados of the sweet green leaf will find plenty to enjoy here too in the ballads of I Am The Liquor.

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Since 2014, at the height of a stoner resurgence, I Am The Liquor have quietly but consistently put out excellent, white hot, grunge-fuelled romps that tickle the tastes of music fanatics, pop culture nuts, and grass smokers alike. Their debut established them as a deeply promising underground prospect, while 2017’s Game of Thrones-inspired 7 Days of Smoke expanded their Alice in Chains-goes-Palm Desert approach, with brooding, shadowy, Sabbathesque journeys that became as absorbing as they were skull-shaking. This time round, they’re taking fantasy to the reaches of outer space, with a sci-fi novel concept written by the band themselves, about restarting the Sun’s core with a mythical concentrated strain of weed. Still following? Good. Second track in on Escape From Planet Smoke bears its early highlight, 454, an assertive headrocker of a track that drives as hard as its engine namesake. Brazen, fuzz-drenched chords reel effortlessly from the guitar to start off, a singular booming bass punch and infrequent tom bashes in company, to build towards the verse, but instead of shifting to full speed ahead, ears are first treated to an impromptu groove, drums causing a snake-like winding in the rhythm that makes this track that little more thrilling. Groove does eventually concede to forward motion, and with the wall of fuzz now conducting traffic, you can feel the scorch of sunset and the sparsest of winds in this road trip narrative, as soaring vocal melodies that mirror and match Master Homme himself take the steering wheel. There’s even a brief characteristic stomp in the vein of Queens, that feels right at home in the back pocket of the trio. Lyrically, it hammers in the beginning of their quest, details concerning the launch itinerary before setting off which slots perfectly within the context of the track. Yet while not the most lyrically dexterous track of their repetoire, it has one hell of a memorable right hook in the form of their chorus, that its simplicity and melodic structure makes that 15 second refrain a burst of molten elation, and begs to be sung back en masse. Brief at only three minutes in length, perfectly performing its role as an establishing scene, but it accomplishes and wrings so much out of its duration than some bands manage in a lifetime, that the fire and joy that I Am The Liquor invoke still holds paramount to their offbeat brilliance. The best part being that there’s still an entire tale of fuzzed out, stratosphere-sized moments on par with and beyond 454 to explore, that if the Earth’s last hope for stoner rock lays with I Am The Liquor, we can universally breathe easy that these boys will be heroes.


All I Am The Liquor’s albums including the newly released Escape From Planet Smoke, not to mention a continual stream of sold-out merchandise, can be found right here on their Bandcamp page.

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http://www.facebook.com/IamtheliquorRVA

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