Liars

TCFC

Mute

Aug 21, 2017 Issue #61 - Grizzly Bear Bookmark and Share


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Liars make pitch-black art-rock that morphs and shifts from album to album, but always retains a core of bitter, urgent darkness. Even 2007's somewhat conventional indie-rock self-titled album and 2012's pretty, Kid A-biting WIXIW feel like examinations of the grimy corners of the soul. Perhaps it's due to Angus Andrew's strange howl, or the sharp, noisy edges of the instrumentation, or the political acidity that features heavily in the lyrics, especially on 2014's Mess, Liars' last album. That LP was surprisingly catchy, featuring several dark dancefloor anthems. But with TCFC, Liars are changing it up again, making a spare, haunting psych-folk record.

It should be noted that this time around that following an amicable parting of ways, Liars is made up of only Andrew, and it shows in the stripped-back arrangements and muted electronic production. Opener "The Grand Delusional" starts with a single, echoing guitar strum and Andrew moaning things about feeling "worse inside" and "uncomfortable." A drum machine sputters to life halfway through the track and it becomes a swaggering, almost drunken bitter lament. It sets the stage for the tracks to come, which all burn with an internal, destructive glow. If other artists are capturing the rage of 2017 America, Andrew is after the inebriated depression of it all. Even the melodic sing-along "No Help Pamphlet" sounds like the tape it was recorded on has been warped or smashed. And "No Tree No Branch" is like someone's nightmare version of jangle-pop.

TCFC isn't exactly fun to listen to, but that could be said about most of Liars' past releases. On the contrary, it could be said that this album distills most of the group's themes and explorations into one grim package. (www.liarsliarsliars.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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