Eerie vocals kick off the new Liars album as they build into overlaying vocals, strings, and piano… Then, robust guitar and heavy symballed drums explode over the top. Yep, this is what I expect from Liars.
Liars is one of those bands that is really, truly hard to describe. Every new album takes a new musical switch leaving the band, as a whole, unclassifiable. Now, that is something that is really appreciated in music these days. Frankly, there are too many bands that are banjo + boy & girl harmonies + acoustic guitar + cute, nature-y lyrics.
This new album finds Liars experimenting more with strings and, at a couple points, horns. Once again, a turn not to be expected. All of the drums seem to be live on this album, and they manage to get a really neat guitar noise for those rougher parts along with a super chunky bass sound. Discordant notes hang in the air as swooping noises that sort of mimic what I would imagine a pleasant heartburn with rainbows from a guitar. I find that the band delves deep into investigating all the different ways they can play four note harmonies which is so simple yet incredibly ingenious. However, this does lead to some songs sounding like the same about halfway through.
Nevertheless, the album works best as a listening on a whole. That does not mean that some tracks do not stand out from others. “No Barrier Fun,” “Proud Evolution,” and “The Overachievers” all stand out for very different reasons.
The album is dark, but it is the sort of darkness that’s welcoming for the music world (as long as its not metal-blatant dark) because it’s fresh and unexplored. Liars contrasts popular indie (pun) artists of the day proving (like Mo’Nique’s Oscar winning performance) that darkness can still be fresh and rewarding.