I caught wind of this thirty year-old relic just a few months ago. Upon receiving it in the mail I learned that the Chicago area-Book of Lies had the good fortune of hiring the services of the late, great Iain Burgess, who has his name strewn all over this thing, including a co-production credit. Cryptic is a fairly accurate one-word summation of the Book's modus operandi, but "oblique" is even more befitting. Billed and depicted as a trio on the back cover, but with some songs credited to a quartet of musicians inside, prime mover Preston Klik leads his troupe through four pieces of curious, art-damaged (anti)pop, boasting a sonic ken well ahead of their time. Book of Lies wield an avant angle that's dense and lithe as all-get-out, and if fact, the only parallels I can faintly draw might be to Japan, or Perry Farrell's pre-Janes outfit Psi Com.
The opening "Book," with it's abstract spiritual connotations, doesn't make for the best intro, but the remaining three songs compensate, some of which possess a surprising measure of warmth coming from such a mangled delivery system. Bass (quite possibly of the fretless variety) is quite prevalent throughout. Those who are capable of feeding off of Cryptic Memo's crooked energy will find the mystique of this record enthralling. A Google query, believe it or not, conjured up this brief write-up in the New York Times:
On ''Cryptic Memo,'' the Chicago- based rock trio Book of Lies purveys a
funk-oriented, densely mysterious and quite original sound, and answers
an old question: ''Who wrote the book of love?'' These folks claim they
wrote it, and that it's really a book of lies. ''Cryptic Memo'' is
available in new-wave and import stores...
02. Tree of Laughter
04. & Then Some
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