September 27, 2020

liars-mess-album-coverBy JODY ANDERSON

The group Liars creates strange, unique and mostly creepy records.

They have since their debut album They Threw Us All In A Trench and Stuck A Monument On Top in 2001, which was a punk album with some odds twists and turns that hinted they weren’t another run of the mill group.

They proved that with their next release, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, a chant-filled disc about witchcraft.

Another big change was their 2012 album called Wixiw, which had the band making extensive use of electronic instruments for the first time. It was a sort of introspective record from the band that showed maturity and patience and opened a new avenue for the group.

That brings us to Mess their album that comes out tomorrow. It is their second “electronic”-style record, although it and 2012’s dark and remote Wixiw are very different in key aspects, namely attitude. Wixiw is quite insular whereas Mess is boisterous and attention grabbing.

Mess is a loud, bouncy and weird record, for the most part anyway.

The first track, Mask Maker, is an energetic, voice-distorted masterpiece, with sounds flying all over the place.

Vox Turned D.E.D. continues the bombastic beat party but isn’t as crazy as the track previous.

There are quieter moments like Can’t Hear Well, a synthy stroll which is nice and subdued with a lot of effects on the vocal.

The single Mess On a Mission is in the middle of the album and it is a hyped-up dance-along with an either infectious or annoying chorus depending on the listener. The high-pitched repeating of the lyrics, which are “our mess on a mission,” “our next evolution,” or any number of word combinations, can be grating to some.

Darkslide is a highlight that features some nice percussions and a beat that conjures images of a Van de Graaff generator (aka those metal ball things that make your hair stand up when you touch them).

Boyzone is definitely not a boy band song like its name suggests. It has a rumbling beat and metallic sounding noises overtop.

Dress Walker has some really interesting elements that almost sound like the electronic equivalent to someone tuning up a bike. Besides that, it has a vocal that sounds like someone is playing it on a keyboard at times. It changes in the second half and picks up the pace, so much so that you could dance weirdly to it.

The last two songs are longer, less immediate tracks.

The first is Perpetual Village, an eight-plus minute epic. It rolls along like a dark cloud, offering thunder or flashes of lightning from time to time but is mostly content to be foreboding.

The final track, Left Speaker Blown, is the quietest song on the album. It’s a slow burn that goes out on a whimper, not a bang. It, and thus the album, end with a ghostly fadeout.

Mess is an exciting listen. Longtime fans of Liars can be assured that the group has not mellowed out as much as Wixiw may have suggested and potential fans can find an interesting if not completely accessible way into their catalogue.

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