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Liars - Sisterworld

The rules get tossed right out the window when you’re dealing with a band like this.

It seems that throughout their career, Liars have been just as interested in confounding their fans as they’ve been in connecting with them. The diverse three-piece has released one sonic curveball after another, never fully allowing anyone to grasp what direction they are going to take their inventively abrasive sound next. The band chose Los Angeles as the inspiration for their new record, ‘Sisterworld’, tapping into both the seediness and the secrecy of the City of Angels, which imbues these songs with a dark insistence and sordid undertones. If you’ve never heard Liars before, this untamed but no less brilliant album might not be the best place to start, but then again it might just be the perfect introduction to these sonic sorcerers. The rules get tossed right out the window when you’re dealing with a band like this, and conventions never quite stick to a group this elusive. Enter into their world at your own risk, though, for Liars rugged musical landscape is intentionally eerie and pockmarked with menacing pollutants if you happen to lose your way.

Lead single ‘Scissor’ kicks things off ominously, with chaos erupting out of the relative calm they lured you into, leading you into the eye of the hurricane and then leaving you there to fight your way out. But the surroundings don’t look at all familiar, do they Dorothy, and fear might begin to set in as the bushes start to rustle with shadows that shouldn’t move. ‘No Barrier Fun’ doesn’t provide any solace, either, as it sounds like the band is chanting a curse at the listener as they guide you deeper into their remote wilderness. ‘Here Comes All The People’ challenges the listener to ‘lose your conscience or your mind’ as you ‘count victims one by one.’ These fatalities aren’t the typical sort, mind you, these are people who lose their soul to the city as the constant pull of consumerism and greed turn their hearts slowly black. There is no saving them, and Liars seem to take pleasure in their demise.

The urban blight of homelessness is tackled somewhat violently in the caustic buzz of ‘Scarecrows On A Killer Slant,’ which suggests that these bums that bother you every day, if you’re not going to help them out of their misery, should be stood up in the street and eliminated en masse. It’s obviously a tongue-in-cheek solution from the band, who are clearly pointing their fingers at the people that refuse to help more than the hopeless vagrants that dot the city streets. It’s a blistering song whose message might get lost within the din, which is fine, just be sure to turn it up and scare your comfortable neighbors a bit.

The chanting, spell-like tracks continue on the second half, hypnotizing the listener before releasing the fury of pent up vexation that modern living often brings, with the chaos of ‘I Still Can See An Outside World,’ ‘Proud Evolution’ and ‘Drop Dead’ all unleashing a full sonic assault after mesmerizingly tranquil intros. ‘The Overachievers’ doesn’t even bother with formality, instead immediately hitting you over the head with its Nirvana-sounding discord straight away, joking about ‘settling down with cats’ and how that false sense of security can cause you to lose your mind. ‘Goodnight Everything’ seems to be the sound of this tenuous ship of ours finally starting to sink, while sinister album closer ‘Too Much, Too Much’ is the sound of god laughing at our folly and planning for his next experiment. Frontman Angus Andrew is the unhinged ringmaster for this entire sordid affair, showing us the way into the heart of darkness while also shedding some light on a brighter way to live. The choice is ours, and ‘Sisterworld’ is the foreboding soundtrack to us all making up our minds which way we’re going to have it.

Tags: Liars, Reviews, Album Reviews

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