Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2010: Number 13

Liars are a strange band to be envisioning as anything like all things to all people, but perhaps in our little sphere of influence that's what they are. From the tribal bafflement of Drums Not Dead to the noise as melody of their self-titled last album, the trio stalk the perimeter of what is possible with modern art-rock. One day something would click and they'd fall into the tiny crack between self-indulgence and something unique in an increasingly downsizing world of originality with guitar. Sisterworld manages it, pulling together all their themes - spooked out witchcraft as post-post-punk, nervous system rattling Sonic Youth attack, nightmare pop structure.

There's a lot of fear around the record, perhaps influenced by being recorded in a particularly unsalubrious area of LA, a new locale whose undertow of aggression appears to have provided some amount of social stimulus to back up their traditional setting of something slowly but surely going horribly bad. Scissor begins with ghostly harmonies and then crashes in on a wave of distortion before shrinking back out of terror. The Overachievers is what happens when LA punk is fed through a waste disposal unit, featuring a steadily more aggrivated series of shouts where most people put chorus lyrics. No Barrier Fun's use of music box melodies against everything else clicking and whirring makes it all the more unsettling even before you clock the lyrics. Here Comes All The People, with its trembling strings and psychologically damaged slow riff, might be what Lecter listens to in his cell; Scarecrows On A Killer Slant, with its overdriven to digital buggery guitar sound, accustory shouts and warehouse sized drums, might be what was in his head when he was killing people, especially bearing in mind Angus Andrew's ultimate settlement is to "stand them on the street with the gun... AND THEN KILL THEM ALL". Andrew, a towering presence live, is hardly the sort of person who needs to top up on his paranoia, but the circumstances of recording appear to have done the job very nicely, filled as he is with barely controllable anxiety and deeply disturbed/disturbing moments of falsetto. The whole aura is one of 24 hour delusional fear. Somehow, this is Liars' most melodically charged set yet. It's also charged in entirely different, creeped out, don't go out after nightfall ways.



The full list

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