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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Music Review : Liars - Liars : Not The Reissue of a Jim Carrey Soundtrack

Liars: "Ahhh we had some good times with those shirts didn't we fellas..."

Liars have seemed to run the full pendulous gamut of critical opinion since their 2001 debut album They Threw Us in a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top garnered rave reviews for their prescient dance punk Gang Of Four meets Sonic Youth sound. Follow up They Were Wrong, So We Drowned suffered not so much from critical backlash as from whiplash, with many critics finding the witch-themed concept album unlistenable. The third record Drum's Not Dead tempered some of the more experimental touches of Drowned but had an even more impenetrable concept. Despite this and the band's exile in Berlin Drum's received better reviews and even occasioned some backwards re-evaluation of Drowned . I always found their albums to be a mix of a few great songs and some pretentious noodling, never wholly satisfying but always interesting. Now they complete the cycle of reinvention laid out by David Bowie with their new album called simply Liars . Dropping the proggy concepts and embracing (mostly) melodies, this is their most listenable record yet and their most consistent. They are still exploring, with little that resembles the straight ahead propulsion of album number one and a greater emphasis on guitars on many songs. There are moments that sound like Jesus and Mary Chain (the awesome "Freak Out") , Happy Mondays mixed by DFA (the better than it sounds "Houseclouds"), the terrific "Plaster Casts of Everything" is like the sunburned stripped down Steppenwolf that Queens of The Stoneage always wanted to be. There is still experimental stuff here like "Leather Prowler" which sounds like Swell Maps navel gazing and the gorgeous keyboard waves of album-closer "Protection". Liars is Liars best, a real grower that suggests there is more good stuff ahead for this band.

Liars gets four out of five liars:

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