Review Summary: The most traditional Liars album so far, but still worth a listen.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Ah, Liars. A band that absolutely refuses to play by anyone's rules but their own. With each subsequent release, they've shown the world just how little they care for the expectations of others, changing their sound so frequently you'd think that each member had ADD. So how could a little ol' dance-punk record stand up to tribal freakouts, feedback collages, and step-by-step descriptions of corpse disposals?
Pretty damn well, actually.
They Threw Us All In a Trench And Stuck a Monument On Top
may be the most mainstream-friendly album they've done thus far, but that certainly doesn't mean that it isn't worth a listen. Liars have immense talent as songwriters, and this talent is heavily flaunted here. Songs like "Mr You're On Fire Mr" and "We Live NE Of Compton" are incredibly danceable and catchy thanks to some of the funkiest bass lines they've ever written. That old punk attitude is put to good use with simple drum beats and pugnacious riffs just as suited to disco dancing as they are to punching someone in the face. Of course, they aren't one-trick ponies, which songs like "Loose Nuts On The Veladrome" and "The Garden Was Crowded and Outside" clearly demonstrate. With their heavy riffs and atonal shouts, these songs showcase Liars' talent for writing headbanger anthems while retaining their own dirty twist. Where lyrics are concerned, they're no poetic geniuses - but who would want deep, meaningful imagery or scathing political commentary on a dance-punk record? They keep it simple and fun (Mr., you're on fire, Mr.! No, sir, I'm okay!).
However, They Threw Us All
is not without its issues. The production feels shoddy and rushed at times, and occasionally detracts from what could have been absolutely fantastic songs. "Tumbling Walls Buried Me In Debris With The ESG" features a headache-inducing squeal in the background and (gasp!) a boring, unoriginal bass line. And for some unknowable reason, the last 22 minutes of "This Dust Makes That Mud" are the same 4 seconds of music looped over and over and over again. Filler? Artistic statement? Or are they just screwing with us? One guess is as good as another.
Despite its differences from Liars' later work, They Threw Us All In a Trench And Stuck a Monument On Top is a supremely fun record and an interesting artifact from the band's past. Though future releases saw Liars "grow up" and shed their vernal energy for a textural, less accessible sound, the verve of this album can still be heard.