Liars
Drum's Not Dead


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
April 19th, 2006 | 47 replies | 12,496 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Creatively speaking, Berlin's Liars have to be one of the most hyperactive bands currently creating music. The band created one of the best modern dance-punk albums with their debut, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top. However, unsatisfied with being part of a trend that currently dominates alternative music, Liars radically changed direction on their second effort, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. Their just-released third album, Drum's Not Dead is another concept album and further explores unfamilar territory.

Liars
Angus Andrew
Aaron Hemphill
Julian Gross

Following the release of They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, the Liars relocated to Berlin. Somewhat frustrated with New York, the band's overseas journey proved to be both liberating and inspirational for the group. Drum's Not Dead is a concept album in which the band's relocation played a considerable part. The album's title refers to one of two fictional characters and their battle against each other in the creative process. Drum represents productivity while Mt. Heart Attack represents stress and self-doubt. Pretentious? Probably, but that's why it makes such an interesting concept.

Refusing to stay comfortable, Liars refrain from the noisy and angular sounds that dominated their first record. Drum's Not Dead is generally a quiet and droning record with occasional outbursts of noise. Vocally, Angus Andrew shifts from mid-low (and sometimes monotonous) singing with the occasional song done in falsetto. Musically, the songs are often driven by tribal and jungle sounding percussive beats. The instrumentation ranges from simple and shimmering guitar lines to strange and rhythmic noises.

Being a concept album, there are a lot of shifts in mood, dynamics and focus throughout. The album opens with "Be Quiet Mt Heart Attack", a slowly building track that uses minimalistic but powerful drumming. The guitar is so monotonous and shimmery that it's next to impossible to tell what the guitar is doing and the listener can only conclude that it is simply present. The following track is based around a strange noise that sounds vaguely like a siren and more powerful drumming. The track features high vocals in a way that Thom Yorke would be proud of. Album single "It Fit When I Was A Kid" (which was released with a homoerotic cover photo containing band members' heads photoshopped in) is simply based around a one-note rhythmic bass line and pounding tribal percussion. The song changes halfway through to include a simple synthesiser part. Album highlight "The Other Side of Mt Heart Attack" closes off the album on an upbeat, yet quiet and repetetive note.

Arguably the best thing that Liars have released, Drum's Not Dead is a wildly original, challenging and above all enjoyable record. With three fantastic albums to their credit, Liars have proven themselves capable of releasing quality albums that challenge both the band and the listener.

Pros
Both challenging and fun
Wildly interesting musical ideas
Well paced and interesting concept

Cons
A very slight dip in quality towards the middle of the album
Some listeners will find it too challenging

Reccomended Tracks
Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack!
It Fit When I Was A Kid
The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack

FINAL RATING: 4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
April 19th 2006



2647 Comments


This sounds like a strange concept album, I'll probably download a few songs before I do anything else.
Good review, I love the way you make things so brief yet detailed.

dei
April 19th 2006



15 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's a great album. If you're going to check it out, don't just pick up a few tracks. The songs on their own aren't so great, but the album as a whole is brilliant. This Message Edited On 04.19.06

br3ad_man
Emeritus
April 20th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the songs I reccomended stand up pretty well on their own. Maybe not "It Fit When I Was A Kid", but the other two for sure.

AlienEater
April 23rd 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is fantastic.

Endowed
June 25th 2006



3 Comments


Did these guys have another album called They Threw Us All in a Trench and Threw a Monument on Top?

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 25th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep, they did. It was great too.

AlienEater
June 25th 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah. They Were Wrong So We Drowned is their worst.

deemo
September 12th 2006



2 Comments


first off, they're not "Berlin's", they're from USA and only recorded in Germany.

you recommended some of the less stellar tracks to get people hooked.

MY recommended tracks:

Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack
It Fit When I Was a Kid
Hold You, Drum
Drum and the Uncomfortable Can

and for Angus' skills at song writing, Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack

Also, the CD came with a DVD featuring 3 videos. One by Angus which is basically a snail filmed for the duration of the album. One by drummer Julian Gross which is assorted music videos for each track, and another one by a director who's name I forgot, but he did some nice videos too.

If you even remotely like this CD, listen to their prior record, They Were Wrong so We Drowned.

Drum's not Dead may be a challenging listen, but honestly, listen to it at the right time and it will do things for you.

burton.and.gas
October 8th 2006



641 Comments


i like this band but not this album so much.

burton.and.gas
October 8th 2006



641 Comments


also dude they recorded in berlin but are from NY This Message Edited On 10.08.06

br3ad_man
Emeritus
October 9th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They live in Berlin, they used to be from New York.

The Jungler
April 9th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, but can't listen to They Threw Us in a Trench and Put A Monument Over It.

I might check this out soon.This Message Edited On 04.09.07

descendents1
April 9th 2007



702 Comments


this album pissed me off so much because of its inaccessibility that i threw it away

however, that was over a year ago and that old music lover has matured and would not mind hearing this again

Catchthe22
August 20th 2007



95 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the first album Ive gotten of the Liars. I like it a lot. It is droned out that it almost has an ambient rock sound. Animal collective was a good recommendation too just because some of these songs reminds me of their noise aspect.

The Jungler
August 28th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good, and I can definitley see myself listening to it a lot. It kind of reminded me of the first TV On The Radio (which makes sense I guess, seeing as how their guitarist produced it), only a bunch more interesting.
I guess I gotta go back and relisten to They Threw Us in A Trench soon.

jontheatheist
April 9th 2008



79 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A real surprise magnum opus from a "dance punk" band whose great at doing that.

And the garage rock chaos that was s/t is great too.

samariah
April 29th 2008



109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really good

chris21
April 30th 2008



159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really good, but really strange.

brandtweathers
April 30th 2008



2007 Comments


^disagree and agree.
just deleted this bc i couldn't handle it any more

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
April 30th 2008



3762 Comments


Yeah, Liars and Deerhoof's Friend Opportunity break my head. I have to be in the mood otherwise i completely implode.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation



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