You just have to love the Liars. You produce a mini funk punk masterpiece of a debut and then what do you do? Sack the rhythm section that anchored the record and disappear into the New Jersey woods.
Return with an abrasive collection steeped in witch trial folk law. Smart. Then you flee to Berlin and record a new LP based around two characters named Mt Heart Attack and Drum. Layer it with Thurston Moore‘s guitars, sheets of white noise and frantic percussion. Lose most of your fan base and find a new one with each release. A career path that would make even Scott Walker wince.
On their self titled fourth full length release they again confound expectation. Not by drifting further out into the avant guard hinterland of Wire readers and free jazz fans. No, on Liars they weld their sonic experimentation onto 11 songs. Songs in a fairly loose sense of course – I can’t see them collecting any Ivor Novello awards anytime soon. It’s a polymath collection, Liars mastering each varied form that the band turns their hands and intellects to.
Lead single and opening track Plaster Casts Of Everything is The Stooges‘ raw power rerouted through a airplane engine. Andrew Angus sounds like Jagger with electric currents shooting through his knackers. A yelping, preening display of second hand emotions. They follow this full frontal assault with the Klaxons meets The Kingsmen baggy garage shuffle of Houseclouds. Another sharp left turn into the echo laden discordant Leather Prowler. All Sonic Youth smear and firecracker drums.
The real testament to the strength and sheer brilliance of Liars is that for all the psychosis in the sound, the genre shedding of the track selection, the record never sounds muddled, hurried or half baked. The Black Sabbath aping riff heavy Cycle Time makes sense alongside the Jesus and Mary Chain chainsaw overload of Freak Out.
Liars drifts to a close on a pair of narcotized tracks. Dumb In The Rain sounds like Joy Division soundtracking a David Lynch dream sequence, all looped vocals, slow motion dislocation and time slipping repartition. Protection is a fractured lullaby for asylum dwellers, its hazy organ chords and distorted vocals recalling The Flaming Lips on downers. A purposely anodyne ending to a head rush of a record.
Thank heaven for Liars. They are the perfect prescription to these drab uniform times. At long last a band willing to prod and poke the notion of indie from its self satisfied slumber. To grasp the notion that you can fracture the structure, be restless, be artful, be wilful and create something as awe inspiring as this. The bar has been raised, please take note.