20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Liars’ Sisterworld by 20watts
April 1, 2010, 1:52 am
Filed under: Issue 21, Issue 21 Reviews | Tags:

20 Watts reviews Liars' Sisterworld and gives it 14 out of 20 watts.

Part of our Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: Liars’ MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts

Liars’ career has been a bizarre odyssey of musical maturation. With each successive album, the band veers through both innovative and accessible territory. While their debut, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, was as raw as any post-punk album could be, its songs mostly fell in the three-minute, pop range. 2005’s wildly experimental Drum’s Not Dead, could easily be confused with an anthropologist’s recording of cave-dwelling psychedelic cultists. But with 2010’s Sisterworld, Liars masterfully maintain the boundary between inventiveness and familiarity is as well as they ever have.

Opening track “Scissor” stands a cut above the rest, and features a lead-in of lo-fi gospel harmonies, with a despondence reminiscent of “The Wrong Coat for You Mt. Heart Attack” from Drum’s Not Dead. But the solemnity quickly breaks after a melodic spaz-rock mood-swing, in which mountains of instrumentation join lead vocalist Angus Andrews’ chilling falsetto. Think of a bipolar Gregorian chorus thrashing through guitar chords with a few overdriven amplifiers, and you might get the general idea.

The album’s other tracks vary in their level of energy. “Too Much, Too Much” brings the album to a peacefully atmospheric close, while on “Proud Evolution,” the emphasis remains purely on texture and ambience. However, the driving tribal beat in the background asserts its percussive presence nonetheless, reminding the listener that, for Liars, drums are still not dead.

— Daniel Powell

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