Following in the crowd-separating “you either love them or they’re noise-shit” tradition of fellow New Yorkers Sonic Youth and the Velvet Underground, Liars have quite possibly just pulled one over on everyone. They eliminated their once indispensable rhythm section and essentially disowned the songs on their brilliant debut They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top. In turn, they’ve recorded an entire album about witches and strayed as far away from anything remotely resembling a song structure.
They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, their second tragedy-titled full-length, is a complete 180 from anything else Liars have done. The album, filled with distorted digital dinosaur roars and shoes in the dryer drumbeats, slays. Angus Andrew’s lyrics go from simplistic declarative statements to befuddling and baffling babbling in mere seconds. Gone is the all-too-cliché Brooklyn new-funk punks tag, replaced with a more electronic and esoteric genre-snapping sound that owes more to Philip Glass than Gang of Four. It’s quite apparent that Liars could record the sound of a third-grader working out long division problems by pencil and have it hailed as a masterpiece. Whether a sincere musical composition or an inside joke, well, art by any other name would still sound the same. This is the best “fuck you” of the year.
E-mail Ben Blackwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.