Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
It really is a blurred line that makes the properties of Truth & Fiction such a divisive and talked of machine, both used to the same effect, both used to either subjugate or release the listener, both designed to either control or free the willing recipient, after all people hear what they need to and mainly the open mind gets allowed to wallow in the cell of its open making because facts are manipulated and lies are watered down to make them palatable.
It is a daring conscious, a free spirited person that takes on the emotions of such a deal on, who pinpoints with accuracy and a sense of cool the life we lead is not always the life that is perceived, that in many cases the truth we exhibit, that we show for others is merely a fib and that the lie many would gladly spread about is perhaps closer to the truth than we would care to admit. Truth & Fiction, interchangeable, similar and identical, this is the war with ourselves we fight to make ourselves more attractive, less obvious and compatible with the world that we wish to fit in with and one that The Undercover Hippy is happy to support.
Billy Rowan’s alias, The Undercover Hippy, celebrates his third album release with style, the songs on the album flow with ease and charm and whilst the blending of dub beat and Reggae might not be to everyone’s taste, it doesn’t come as any surprise that it is insanely infectious, that it is a combination that combusts and flames, that is the direct poetry of the street rather than that ruled over by the snobbish and the closed eyed. In that infectious beat lays a mystery, as flammable in its reveal as it is deadly in its silence, the burning ember of thought that asks how does such a set of songs get under your skin, how does it penetrate the hardened shell of assured bomb proof rejection?
The answer lays in its disarming nature, the feel for the groove and the calmness of winning over an audience that might never have thought they could be in the company of a poet, albeit one whose musical arrangements might be otherwise alien to them.
In the tracks Who’s In Debt to Who, the urban heat of teenage eyes of Mate Like That, Bristol Peeps, You Keep Telling Me and So Undercover, the charm offensive is sincere, there is no blurred line between Truth & Fiction, just a maker of music capturing the essence of the times he inhabits. A well laid out and attention-grabbing album, The Undercover Hippy motivates reality to be candid and full of integrity.
Ian D. Hall