While Interpol and The Strokes are on the tips of everyone's tongue with their music and fashion sense, The Liars are a group that really couldn't give a crap about the latter. In fact, the lead singer is a tall (6'6"), lanky Australian named Angus Andrew who sports a slightly creepy moustache and what most would consider a 'mullet.' Not only that, but I've seen more than one press photo of the group in which he was wearing sneakers with velco fasteners. Gasp! How can a band from New York possibly be good if they're not snazzy dressers?
OK, so that last statement was just a wee bit sarcastic, but unlike the above-mentioned bands, you probably won't find The Liars on Jane magazine's 'indie rock hot date' list. As mentioned above, though, these guys don't really seem to care so much about that and their music is a mish-mash of post punk and lo-fi electronics that's sounds like a aural equivalent of such. Instead of representing the high-fashion, glamorous side of the big apple, these four fellows make music that is more of a soundtrack of the seedy side of the city that never sleeps. It's angry, it's gritty, and you can even shake your ass to it.
"Grown Men Don't Fall In The River, Just Like That" sets the tone of the release, opening the disc with a rambling intro before blasting into a full-on assault while Andrew yells, 'Can you hear us! We've got our finger on the pulse of America!" over skronky guitars and a rumbling rhythm section. The group isn't above having laughing a bit, though, as is evident on "Mr. Your On Fire Mr." The track again features some minimal guitar chords and screamed vocals, but includes musical fills courtesy of a rather cheesy sounding drum machine spitting out tinny handclaps and cowbell noises.
"The Garden Was Crowded And Outside" starts with a hollowed-out rhythm section before dropping in fully and some thick guitars rain down angular lines over everything as Andrew repeats the line, 'They cut me up at the medical school.' Indeed, the group creates a sort of half-lumbering, half-blistering Frankenstein electro-punk monster, but when tracks groove along as well as "Tumbling Walls Buried Me In The Debris With ESG," one can forgive the somewhat pretentious song titles.
The 50-minute runtime of the 9-track album is a bit misleading, as the disc technically only clocks in at just over the half-hour mark. After the short instrumental of "Why Midnight Walked But Didn't Ring Her Bell," the album closes out with the epic "This Dust Makes That Mud," which sludges along through the grimiest back alleys for nearly ten minutes before looping a 4-second segment for 20 more minutes to close things out. Even with that trick (which certain electronic musicians have done before, and perhaps The Liars are just poking a bit of fun at them), the brief disc contains enough gusto and punch to get your spastic swerve on heartily. Considering this is just a debut album, it's a solid statement from the group and has me interested in how they'll hone their sound for future releases.