Fresh Lies, Vol. I (Violent Films)

Texas Platters

As a "post-genre pop" artist, Anthony Watkins II packs messages into a musical bandwidth almost exclusively reliant on window dressing – oversized hooks and mathematical equations-turned-lyrics by Scandinavian lab-coat producers like Max Martin. Not so with Austin's Mobley, whose songs are the means to an end, and the end is precise messaging. He calls sharp and luminous album-not-an-album Fresh Lies, Vol. I the start of an anthology that employs "romantic interplay as a metaphor to explore my relationship, as a black man especially, with my country." For example, lead single "Tell Me" calls up a 21st century freedom song disguised as a contemporary pop tune, because in certain contexts black people are still running, not unlike runaway slaves escaping Antebellum patterrollers: "Right pacin' left, the back roads are walkin'/ If we just reach the crossin', must reach the crossin' before this county sees the light of day." His versatility as a singer, particularly a subtle elasticity, consistently bends and pulls requisite emotions through their loops. Mobley plays the time traveler on "Young Adult Fiction," which lightly borrows from Nina Simone's mambo/spiritual "Sinnerman," updated with a hustling patter of digital snares: "All your life you've been waiting/ I've got news for you, Simone/ The future isn't home." Fresh Lies, Vol. I explains "the Negro problem" to maximalist pop effect. (CD release: Saturday, June 2, Mohawk.)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Mobley
Texas Platters Hall of Fame
Texas Platters Hall of Fame
Pop polymath Mobley extols Solange

Mobley, Sept. 21, 2018

Is ACL Fest Local Mobley Austin's Bill Withers?
Is ACL Fest Local Mobley Austin's Bill Withers?
First-weekend act transforms hardship into post-genre pop

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 6, 2017

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Reddening West
Deltas (Record Review)

Hannah Wisterman, Dec. 14, 2018

Texas Platters
Aaron Stephens
Focus (Record Review)

Clara Wang, Dec. 14, 2018

More by Kahron Spearman
Sun Ra’s Cosmic Jazz Epic <I>Space Is the Place</I> Touches Down
Sun Ra’s Cosmic Jazz Epic Space Is the Place Touches Down

Jan. 11, 2019

The Best Albums of 2018 by Genre
The Best Albums of 2018 by Genre
Hip-hop, metal, pop, and more picks from our critics

Dec. 28, 2018



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle