Review Summary: Liars form their numerous sounds like Voltron, and, in the meantime, create their best album yet.
To be quite honest, Liars, as far as their music goes, are a scary fuc
king band, and I'm talking about more than just indie rock here too: anyone who's ever heard Drum's Not Dead
, which is the soundtrack of the worst trip you've ever had, or They Were Wrong, So We Drowned
, can almost certainly back me up on this. Despite probably just being a bunch of pasty white dudes like me, Liars used to sound unfuc
kwithable. Keyword(s): used (to). Nowadays, Liars are almost accessible: what was once an abnormality is becoming, with every new record, almost approachable. And Sisterworld
is the most so of any Liars full-length to date.
Barring their dance-rockish debut (let's just forget about that one, or chalk it up as a misguided oddity), Sisterworld
is basically an amalgamation of everything that makes Liars so damn good
, whittled down into one clean package. There's the frightening and damaged lyricism and distortion-laden production of They Were Wrong
in "Scarecrows on a Killer Slant", the lulling near-ambience of Drum's Not Dead
in "Too Much, Too Much", the neurotic hooks of their self-titled in "Here Comes All the People"; the whole gang's more or less here. But Sisterworld
isn't only a sampling: "Scissor", which is merely the opener, models Liars's newfound inspiration, mixing left-field influences (such as some truly random shit
like Nick Cave) with the band's core sound, impressively crafting something unheard of.
As a full listen, Sisterworld
is almost unbearably anxious and high-strung. Mid-tempo songs like "No Barrier Fun" and "Drip" combine skittish rhythms with pulsating instrumentation and melodies that drip like molasses; the effect is equally breathtaking and nerve-racking. This tension is relieved, if only slightly, on songs like "Scarecrows on a Killer Slant" and "The Overachievers", which display a newfound desire of the band: to rock. Hard. The former is, quite simply, one of the best songs I've personally heard in a while: it combines sneering vocals with sharply ironic and gleefully violent lyrics; lying not far underneath is a pulsating, terrifying rhythm that drives the whole thing just this
close to total chaos.
As tense as Sisterworld
is, it's not overly oppressive or exacting - just enough to derive some masochistic pleasure. And what makes it so listenable, ultimately, is that the whole thing is actually quite catchy, although mostly subtly. Songs like "Drop Dead" and "Here Comes All the People" rely on oscillating, Krautrock-like grooves to propel them forward. Others, such as "Goodnight Everything" and the blackly humorous (due to some slight riffs on hippie idealism) "Too Much, Too Much", are more droning in nature; vocalist Angus Andrew is the mere driving force, utilizing his low murmur to full effect.
presents a band fine-tuning its numerous offerings into one sleek, contoured assortment, without losing track of what made them so good in the first place, which is pretty much exactly what everyone (who cared) was hoping for with this. The only qualm this album could even present is where could Liars possibly go after such a opus; but let's worry about that another time. For now, just close your mind off, and let's drift away into Sisterworld