Liars: Mess (Mute) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - PortlandiaLiars



Mar 24, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share

God bless Liars. While virtually everyone in the avant rock class of the Aughts (that loosely started with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and ended with HEALTH) either cleaned up their acts and graduated or just dropped out, Liars are streaking the graduation ceremony with booze on their breaths and middle fingers in the air. And yet the kind of envelope-pushing on Mess is nothing if not mature, simultaneously punk as fuck and utterly refined.

Maintaining their trajectory of disdaining acoustic instruments in favor of electronics, there may not be a non-synthetic sound on Mess. But whereas 2012’s WIXIW was also heavily electronic, it often sounded like a power trio experimenting, still sounding like three dudes jamming with machinesMess is nigh-on cyborgian in its assimilation of electronics.

Things burst from the gates propulsive and profane with opener “Mask Maker” and rarely slow down from thereon. If “Mask Maker”‘s effed-up narcotic beats and fat synth chords sound more fun than a Liars song should, “Vox Tuned D.E.D.” brings the familiar melancholy in spades, a detuned John Carpenter-esque riff driving toward a chorus of lush synthetic strings that make Angus Andrews’ android-son-of-Nick-Cave sermons sound like futuristic devotional hymns. Indeed, this record mightn’t sound out of place in some apocryphal dance club scene from Blade Runner.

“Pro Anti Anti” is the penultimate propulsive dance track before we reach something resembling a breather, the still-deeply-skewed,

“Can’t Hear Well.” First single “Mess on a Mission” brings the momentum back with a heavy hook before the album downshifts into a more introspective second half, astute sequencing after a full side of bangers. The nearly-20-minute closing suite of the textural “Perpetual Village” into the narcoleptic “Left Speaker Blown” are the soundtrack to an armada spent, battle-scarred and in need of rest. If it seems inappropriate to frame Liars as pranksters when the emotions they elicit are as serious as cancer, Mess asserts that their greatness comes from both sides of that coin. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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February 4th 2016

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