20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Liars’ Sisterworld by ambiguitron

Liars' Sisterworld continues to surprise and innovate.

WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Liars‘ debut, They Threw Us All In A Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top was stylistically raw, but suitably rough around the edges in a way that sold the band’s wild, untamed energy successfully. Though heavy in post-punk tendencies, the album had the same captivating rhythmic curiosity that would make each of their following releases a treat to hear, especially 2005’s wildly experimental Drum’s Not Dead– a freakshow that somehow blended cave-dweller primitiveness with a sound that was years (and possibly dimensions) ahead of its time. Liars are a group whose appeal lay in their skill to reconcile experimentation with pop-sensibility, with a special brand of weirdness that is extraverted and friendly to the listener. With 2010’s Sisterworld, the band continues to masterfully negotiate the boundary between inventiveness and accessible familiarity in new and exciting ways.

The album kicks off with “Scissor,” a tune with a deceptively mellow lead-in. After a full minute of droning vocal harmonies, the track suddenly suffers a psychotic break and jumps into an energetic bout of spaz-metal. Despite whatever rhythmic discord such a decision might spell, Liars do not slack when it comes to the connective tissue that welds a great song together, and the track gently falls back into its choral, minimalist despondence with great ease.

In keeping with tradition of past albums, the other tracks vary greatly in both style and energy, while at the same time managing to stay organically intermeshed with Liars’ consistent aesthetic. In “Proud Evolution,” the emphasis remains purely on texture and ambience, much in the manner of acid jazz. The concluding song “Too Much, Too Much” brings the album to a peacefully atmospheric close, and makes for a strangely appropriate contrast with the album’s angry opening.

Regardless of how well you take to Liars’ latest stylistic metamorphosis, anyone who’s enjoyed the band before can be sure to find a few likeable earmarks of the band’s past, particularly in regards to percussion and all its assertive presence. Drum is indeed not dead. It in fact lives on in new, ever-surprising forms.

-Daniel Powell

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