They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top
Having garnered a quite a bit of attention for their European jaunt with press-darlings The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Liars’ debut record has been re-released by storied indie label Blast First Records. Comprised of a rag-tag transplants who have emigrated New York via Australia, Los Angeles and Nebraska, The Liars’ music sounds less like the recent exports from New York garage, and more like the spastic dance grime of Gang of Four.
The Liars sound like they’re playing a party at a homeless shelter. Singer Angus Andrew is leaning his imposing six foot six frame over the entire club, and he’s gargling glass. Guitarist Aaron Hemphill is wringing splinters from the neck of his guitar, and he plays his riffs on a shitbox drum kit. The rhythm section is pounding out a loud spaz-disco punk beat. And everyone is dancing.
And as with any good dance tune, it’s the rhythm that really matters. The drums provide a post-punk dance groove, and the bass hooks are biting disco aberrations that drive the songs. The guitars never really congeal into chords or even coherent lines, but the collage of sharp squawks and smudged riffs add enough texture to keep the songs from sounding repetitive. Over all of this dirty noise, Andrew spits non-sequiturs like they mean something. “They cut me out of medical school!” he lazily shrieks on “Garden was Crowded and Outside.”
The songs all follow more or less the same formula, save for the closer, “This Dust Makes That Mud,” a 30-plus minute experiment in dazed tape loops. While the songs aren’t traditionally catchy, certain noises and textures, as well as the unique delivery of the lyrics, will keep the songs in your head. The Liars’ soiled sounds and vicious abrasion may be hard to digest, but close listening will keep things moving on sweaty, craggy dance floors everywhere.