Liars – Liars (Mute) 2007


Um, this is a bit different. Big Fan. Loved the whole post-punk minimalist funk of their first album, stayed with them (barely) through their witch-based, intentionally obtuse, experimental concept album They Were Wrong So We Drowned, and then they made me love them all over again with their avant-ambient percussive masterpiece Drums Not Dead.

Mr Boo tells me that I’ve listened to this record nine times and I’ll be honest it’s so fucking varied that when I first started listening to it I felt like it was pushing me away with one hand whilst begging me to come over. It’s like a fun game of “spot who that track sounds like”.

From a band that has had a definite musical vision for each of their last three releases, it comes as a bit of a shock. A really pleasant shock. I really like Liars but it did have me checking Mr Boo at times to see whether I was still listening right record. I’ll give you a couple of examples. The last track (“Protection”) sounds like bored, late period Flaming Lips. “Houseclouds” is essentially an electro pop song combined with the slacker spirit of 1992. “Sailing To Byzantium” is like a cross between Portishead and Radiohead. The spirit of Barbed Wire Kisses-era Jesus and Mary Chain (with less feedback) is heard in “What Would They Know” (which by the way I think is the best title for a Mogwai track but, hey whatever). Not to be left out, later period JAMC turns up in “Freak Out”.

What you get for the most part is art-damaged rock stonk. There are shoutouts to their back catalogue though. “Leather Prowler” takes the histrionic yet bored indifference of We Were Wrong to an industrial extreme. “Pure Unevil” could be from Drums not Dead. “Clear Island” gives a salacious wink to their debut.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a classic ‘I’ve heard it all before’ record. But you know, I don’t really give a fuck. There are a stack of tracks on this that are pure joy. Yeah sometimes it sounds like some other record I own. Big Fucking Deal. For all the influence-spotto I played while listening to Liars, once you absorb it, there is no doubt which band made it. Angus Andrew’s cynical melancholy delivery dominates throughout. It may not be what I was expecting but my love affair continues. Clever bastards.

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