Liars

Too cool for school? Maybe. But if Liars aren’t anybody’s idea of easy listening, by gum, they’re never dull, and for that, we salute them.

Way before The Rapture, Franz etc, New York-by-way-of-Berlin’s Liars were investigating the possibilities of Gang Of Four-revisited punk-funk ‘n’ skronk with frequently intoxicating, occasionally unlistenable, but always interesting results. The dual geneology proves instructive: Big Apple rockers meet the clubsters uptown versus post-Wall analogue synths-under-duress and unrelenting rhythms.

Liars, the trio’s fourth album, is being touted as their most orthodox record yet, which means it’s only several miles left of everything else on the dial. ‘Plaster Casts Of Everything’ spits repetitive riffs that aren’t so much nagging as sociopathic and bristles with anti-guitar solos a la Belew and Fripp, plus a dollop of No Wave attitood. ‘Houseclouds’ channels PiL’s Metal Box and Jane’s Addiction, while ‘Leather Prowler’ bears out its pimp-in-a-gimp-suit title with grimy Crime & The City Solution detuned pianos and distressed guitar sounds that appear to have been exhumed from the Pompeii ruins of some bombed out cellar club.

Elsewhere, ‘Sailing To Byzantium’ is Yeatsian only in title… unless one can imagine the Madame Blavatsky-enthralled Golden Dawn era Willie B equipped with a sampler and given to deep dub notions of what Gorillaz would’ve sounded like on a mushroom diet. ‘Cycle Time’ splits and splices elements of Teenage Jesus with Sonic Youth, while ‘Freak Out’ and ‘Pure Unevil’ are pure minimalist Mary Chain by way of Kenneth Anger black leather narcissism.

Too cool for school? Maybe. But if Liars aren’t anybody’s idea of easy listening, by gum, they’re never dull, and for that, we salute them.

 
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