Under Review: Liars – Sisterworld

When examining the current rock n’ roll scene, Berlin-based American trio Liars are as frustrating as they come.  Even on their debut, they showed that they are just as capable of making incendiary blasts of dance-punk as they are ready to blow out your ear drums with a single half-hour long jam.  In the albums that followed, the band made some pretty unlikely stylistic shifts, landing on everything from skuzzy punk to Jesus And Mary Chain-esque noise pop.  The band’s latest, Sisterworld, combines all of the wild and challenging elements of their previous work into a terrifying and consistent package.  The album starts with “Scissor,” an eerie mix of woodland a cappella intonations and spastic guitar outbursts.  The song sets the two polar moods of Sisterworld: the hauntingly intimate and the startlingly abrasive.  Spooky surf-guitar influences are plentiful on tracks like “Here Comes All The People” and “The Overachievers,” but the melodicism of most surf bands is here replaced with a sense of wound-up dread.  Sisterworld plays out like a moody song cycle, so it’s a little tricky to pick out individual standouts.  The dissonant harmonies on “I Still Can See An Outside World” and “Drop Dead” lend an unsettling but completely enjoyable edge to the album’s atmosphere.  Though I often criticize bands for favoring moodiness over musicality, Liars wear the experimentalism very well.  Though I was unsure of what to make of their older records (and, admittedly, am still not entirely sure what to make of them now), Sisterworld makes for a great introduction to the difficult world the band inhabits.  Listening to Sisterworld is a totally engrossing experience.  The album pulls you in and doesn’t let go, despite the inherently far-off nature of the songs contained within.  You’ll find yourself oddly captivated before you know what hit you.  Because of that, Liars have finally made an album that, while it’s doubtful to launch them into mainstream popularity, gives a representative sample of their undertaking: to make music that challenges traditional conventions and long-held standards of indie rock.  Instead of making an accessible statement to last generations, Liars’ Sisterworld confronts modern conceptions of musicality and counters them with an evocatively original set of chilling material.


~ by E. on March 12, 2010.

One Response to “Under Review: Liars – Sisterworld”

  1. “This Dust Makes That Mud” is totally the best song on their first album. I was once at a Making Time way back n’ the day when they played the entire damn 30 minutes of it. Amazing.

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