Liars
Liars


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
August 28th, 2007 | 39 replies | 11,063 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Liars go pop on their self-titled fourth album.

Fans and/or followers of Liars have hopefully learned by now that to have any understanding of the band at all, you need to expect the unexpected. For those unfamiliar with the band's history, they began their career in New York with their debut They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top and were soon lumped in with the other dance-punk bands of their city that were growing in popularity at the time, despite that the album was more vicious, angular and demanding than any of its peers. Not wanting to be pigeon-holed, Liars followed up their debut with the atmospheric experiments of They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, a "story album" about witch-hunts and a radical departure from their debut. Unsurprisingly, Liars managed to alienate the vast majority of their fanbase and score extremely negative reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and other publications of a similar size. Which brings us to last year's Drum's Not Dead, their most ambitious effort to date, for which the band relocated to Berlin. Drum's Not Dead was received far more warmly than its predecessor and it even helped listeners to see They Were Wrong... in a new light.

There's something mildly irritating about a band making a self-titled album partway through their career. It's hard to place a finger on what exactly makes it irritating, other than it just seems like something that should be done for a band's first album or not at all. What's most curious in this case is that Liars have always had more complex and thoughtful titles for their albums (They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, for example, is an obvious reference to the executions of witches that the album is based on). And so when we come to Liars, its title really does seem like a cop-out. In light of the album, however, it's hard to argue that they could have picked a more fitting title as Liars seems to include everything that one could hope for from a Liars record. It's always challenging, always forward-thinking, undeniably catchy and now more than ever, full of the Liars sense of humour (see the cover of the "It Fit When I Was a Kid" single for an example).

In an interview leading up to the released of the band's self-titled fourth album, frontman Angus Andrew said of the record's songs; “They’re all, in weird ways, attempts to write a pop song, and I think this time we really sort of let out a lot of our influences, which aren’t really that crazy or weird or different...You know, we do like The Ramones, just like everyone does.” Surprisingly enough, Andrew's statement is really the crux of Liars. An almost radical departure from the story-based themes of the band's previous records, Liars is, at its core, a collection of pop songs. That's not to say that progress made with Drum's Not Dead has been abandoned by any stretch of the imagination; Liars maintains its percussive feel and plenty of the droning soundscapes of that album make welcome appearances on Liars. No, what's really changed is the group's approach to songwriting and its purposes. More than any other time or album in Liars' career, Liars is all about having fun.

The band's newfound appreciation for the pop song, when paired with their hyperactive creativity makes for some very interesting music indeed. "Houseclouds" sounds like it could have been an outtake from the latest Muse album, while "Leather Prowler" is just as weirdly atmospheric and dissonant as anything Sonic Youth ever made. "Cycle Time" and opener/single "Plaster Casts of Everything" sound like the new Queens of the Stone Age album should have with heavy grooves and wickedly catchy falsetto (or otherwise) vocal hooks while the synthesizers towards the end of "Sailing to Byzantium" wouldn't sound out of place on a Yes or Pink Floyd album. "Freak Out" is, without a doubt, the most cheery song the band have ever made, so much so that it's not hard to imagine it appearing in a children's movie or a bubblegum commercial.

If it wasn't Drum's Not Dead that certified Liars as one of the most interesting bands currently making music, then Liars is certainly the album to do just that. Liars seem to have approached their self-titled album with much the same goals as with all of their other records; namely to challenge themselves just as much as their listeners. Experimental as always, catchy as hell and full of odd humour, Liars may well go on to be the band's definitive work. The obvious question of what the band will do next is anyone's guess (presumably, the band included), but what is obvious now more than ever is that Liars' refusal to become complacent is perhaps the thing that sets them most apart from any of their peers. As it stands, Liars is an appropriately titled, highly worthwhile piece of work that the band and any of its fans should be extremely proud of.

Pros
All of the progress of Drum's Not Dead without a hint of stagnation
Easily the band's most fun album to date
Wildly varied

Cons
Not much

Recommended Tracks
Plaster Casts of Everything
Leather Prowler
Freak Out

Final Rating: 4/5



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
CarloVonSexron
August 28th 2007



25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, can't stop spinning it :D ; haven't heard any of their previous work though, should check them out more. Great review as well btw.

sgrevs
August 28th 2007



698 Comments


I just bought Drum's Not Dead 2 weeks ago and I love it, I didn't even know they had a new one. This sounds awesome and I'll have to get it soon. Great review for what I'm sure is a brilliant album.

blackmilk
August 28th 2007



584 Comments


awesome album

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 28th 2007



3766 Comments


Awesome, didn't expect to see a review of this. Ridiculously good music.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 28th 2007



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band are seriously shaping up to be one of the best/most interesting of this decade.

The Jungler
August 28th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OK, I definitley need this. I listened to They Were Wrong So We Drowned a long time ago and actually really liked it, and then I listened to the first album and was pretty repulsed (though something tells me I would like it a little better now.) I'll probably listen to this today and maybe Drum's Not Dead after or something.
Great review. I completely agree on the matter of self-titling albums midway into a band's career, such a cop out.

blackmilk
August 28th 2007



584 Comments


how is an album title a cop out

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2007



6093 Comments


Great review/album, but I just can't stand to listen to it a lot. Better in spurts.

Zebra
Moderator
August 28th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm starting to like this more then Drum's Not Dead. This isn't the best album of '07 but it's up there.

descendents1
August 29th 2007



702 Comments


Great review. I completely agree on the matter of self-titling albums midway into a band's career, such a cop out.

I don't think it's very hard to see why it's a cop out. I also agree with the quote.

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Or maybe the band feels that making an album self-titled indicates that they've reached a point where they're comfortable enough in their sound to make the simple statement that this s the music they were trying to make all along, and that this should be considered a defining work for the band?

People are so cynical. This Message Edited On 08.29.07

Abaddon2005
August 29th 2007



684 Comments


^ I was about to say something along those lines, but I'm curious as to why self-titling this album (in this point of their career) is considered copping out?

The Jungler
August 29th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=abaddon2005] ^ I was about to say something along those lines, but I'm curious as to why self-titling this album (in this point of their career) is considered copping out?[/quote]Liars, for the last three records, had (at the very least) really interesting album titles. The fact that they self-titled this album is a bit disappointing and seems like a bit of a lazy move on their part. In retrospect, what Iai said is probably the case but, nonetheless, it’s a bit disappointing.

any14doomsday
August 29th 2007



679 Comments


not as good as They were wrong so we drowned but better then everything else they have done. This might grow on me with time.

I enjoy the last song the most out of all the tracks on here.

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In any case, I'm definitely gonna check this one out because a) I heard so much about Drums Not Dead and b) I've been listening to a couple of the albums Mr. Hartwig has reviewed recently and I've been impressed with his taste and acumen.

Aficionado
August 29th 2007



1027 Comments


Jungler,

You really put too much emphasis on album titles. It's part of the package of an album, not the most important aspect when buying an album. Its definately important but not as important as your making it out to be.

Just my 2 cents.

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We should all follow Korn's lead imo

descendents1
August 29th 2007



702 Comments


You really put too much emphasis on album titles. It's part of the package of an album, not the most important aspect when buying an album. Its definately important but not as important as your making it out to be.

Are you serious? hahaha

Or maybe the band feels that making an album self-titled indicates that they've reached a point where they're comfortable enough in their sound to make the simple statement that this s the music they were trying to make all along, and that this should be considered a defining work for the band?

You know, that could be true, and I'm not saying it isn't, but I highly doubt it. With a name like Liars, however, it's not really making me care either way.

The Jungler
August 29th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You really put too much emphasis on album titles. It's part of the package of an album, not the most important aspect when buying an album. Its definately important but not as important as your making it out to be.
this is a valid point, and I understand with what happened here and my last review's lame intro it would seem that I care too much about album titles, but they really don't mean much to me at all. I noticed bread man made a point that I agreed with, and I decided to include it in my comment, I didn't realize things would go the way they did. And with Unwound, that was just the first thing that came to mind. Intros get harder and harder to come up with.
I enjoy the last song the most out of all the tracks on here.
yeah, definitley one of my favorites.

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I refuse to believe that any band who has ever made it out of their local scene is so lazy and ignorant as to not think about what might be an appropriate name for an album they've been working on for months. This is an album they've got to do weeks, if not months, of promotion for, not to mention they'll have to look back on for the rest of their lives.

They named it Liars because they felt it was the best name for it. End of.This Message Edited On 08.29.07



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