Liars – Sisterworld

Release Date 08/03/2010 (Mute Records)

By Joss Worthington

I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that opening track ‘Scissor’ from Liars latest release ‘Sisterworld’ is nothing short of genius. In fact I could probably write a review of this track alone but I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible, this is an album review after all.

The track opens with eerie barbershop quartet backing vocals whilst lead singer Angus Andrew leads us through a dark murder ballad narrative. It’s the kind of tale that would make Nick Cave go green with envy, and is delivered with the kind of skewed intensity that you might expect to hear from a serial killer on death row recalling his grizzly past.

Initially starting out like a gospel funeral song from days of yore, the song quickly whips itself into a frenzied intensity, clashing guitars and smashing drums collide and then drop us back down to earth again in a heap.

It’s hard not to make the comparison again to Nick Cave and his earlier work with The Birthday Party; Liars seem to have the startling ability to be able to flip between sonic alter egos with frightening ease.

The rest of the album takes us back more towards the experimental sound that Liars are best known for. ‘No Barrier Fun’ is another strong track that makes more use of sampled drums and spooky glockenspiels while the dark tone of Angus Andrew remains. There seems to be evermore of an emphasis on atmosphere as the album progresses.

‘Here comes all the people’ and ‘Drip’ sound like a scene from the movie ‘Seven’. You could imagine them being played in a dingy drug dealer’s lair somewhere.

‘Scarecrows on a Killer Slant’ jolts into noisy punk rock territory, the lyrics ominous as ever ‘We should take the creeps out at night, drag them incomplete by their ears .We should nail their thoughts to the wall ,stand them in the street with a gun AND THEN KILL THEM ALL!’

‘The Overachievers’  continues in a similar vein and sees Andrew now direct his venom towards middle class ideals ‘I bought a house with you ,we settled down with cats .There wasn’t much to do, so we just sat and watched the TV and smoked weed.’

All in all ‘Sisterworld’ is an album that is densely populated with dark and intriguing atmosphere, but it is the songs that manage to combine the atmospheric with the traditions of conventional song format that really shine. In some ways the opening track is such a good song in itself that it almost sets you up for a letdown for the rest of the album.  I found myself enjoying the rest of the album but always looking for that ‘Scissor’ rush once again and never really finding it.



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One response

15 06 2010

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