Liars - Liars
Record Label: Mute
Release Date: August 20, 2007
On their fourth studio album, Liars offer up another dish of their eclectic assortment of noise rock. Combining music from genres such as prog, punk, industrial and hard rock, they have created one of the most diverse releases of the year.
What immediately stands out upon first listen is how the band projects a Jekyll and Hyde personality. There are some songs that adopt an accessible rock side, even hinting at possible radio play, while others possess a strong artsy, unconventional element. This tension makes for a delicate balance.
The record kicks off with the fantastic "Plaster Casts of Everything," led by churning guitars and backed by a ferocious drumbeat. It segues into "Houseclouds," immediately switching things up with a brooding, methodical vibe – Liars’ version of a pop song. Unfortunately, things lose a bit of steam on the next trio of tracks, which gravitate toward creating a collage of dissonance rather than complete songs.
Possessing similar problems as Tool’s last record, "Leather Prowler" and "What Would They Know" do little more than create a haunting atmosphere, and the unstructured distortion soon becomes uninteresting. "Sailing to Byzantium" is able to avoid some of these pratfalls, in part because it contains a distinguishing vocal melody, but overall suffers a comparable fate.
Thankfully, Liars are quick to bounce back with two songs showcasing their upbeat nature. "Cycle Time" utilizes repeated guitar riffs to great effect and, being the shortest song on the record, is able to pack in a nice punch. "Freak Out" embraces a darker texture and succeeds in much the same way.
"Pure Unevil" is a failed return to their eccentric style, dragging on in a lackluster manner as one of the disc’s weakest songs. However, the band is swift to redeem itself with the standout track "Clear Island." Led by hypnotic chanting and a pulsating rhythm section, it is a perfect blend of Liars’ experimental nature and their knack for energetic anthems.
The album closes on a downbeat note with the unusual duo of "The Dumb in the Rain" and "Protection." The former has almost a tribal mood going for it to become the weirdest song on the record, which isn’t particularly a good thing. On the other hand, the latter is their slowest song, yet it still manages to entrance in a way some of the others failed to.
Liars is not a release everyone will enjoy. Nevertheless, there is no denying the band’s success at producing a unique concoction. While there are many strong songs included, there are several more which tend to fall flat and bleed into each another, especially when they drift into their experimental phase. Even though the record is far from one of this year’s best, it does make for an interesting listen.
Incredibly bland, yet critics rave about it and it charts pretty high on CMJ every week. Personally, I really don't like it, one of the very few albums I would deem "extremely redundant." Wish I had something positive to say about it, but unless you like messy music, I'd say steer away from it.