29 July 2009

I've sparsely listened to this before, but never in the proper context.

Album in Question: Liars Liars
Where I Heard It Previously: Two falls ago, I downloaded this onto my old roommate's computer. I tried playing it several times, but it was always met with lukewarm responses so eventually I just stopped trying.

I first became aware of Liars after reading an interview with Thom Yorke, in which he mentioned one of their albums, Drums Not Dead, as one of his favorite pieces of music at the moment. A co-sign from the frontman of one of the world's most important bands was enough for me, and after that I began to actively search for this band at my local record store. If this has not been mentioned before then it can be made known now, but my local record store is woefully inadequate and very rarely do they have anything worth buying. 
The first time I had a copy of this album, I would try playing it for one of my roommates but we met the same fate every time the disc was spun. It never made it past "Leather Prowler". My roomie was borderline terrified of the song. He hated it, and resisted it every chance he got. But seriously, it was the same routine each time. The first track, "Plaster Casts of Everything", was permitted to play because it was the first song on the album. The song itself has a very fierce gallop to it, and is probably not for the faint at heart. In a way, it is the perfect song to kick off the album. If someone can't get through the first song then chances are pretty good that they would not enjoy the album, and if one does like the first song then conventional thinking would say that this individual will probably like the entire disc. My roommate and I were always both in accordance in thinking that the second track, "Houseclouds", was pretty good. I even went so far as to put it on a mix that I made once. My roommate would always comment on how normal this song sounded when compared to "Plaster Casts of Everything" and "Leather Prowler". This statement existed only for so long because we eventually saw the music video for "Houseclouds" and, well, it was a little avant-garde to say the least, and in some respects proved to be the death knell for the entire album because it never saw the light of day again while I lived in that house. 
When this album first came out, the powers that be over at Pitchfork Media gave it an 8.5 out of 10 and for this prestigious zine this supposed to mean that this album is oh, so necessary like Young Hov in the house. The best part about the P4k review is the introduction of the term "murk" which means music sounding like dub that has crossed down the stoner rock alley. Well, if dub rules and stoner rock rules then this album should rule too, correct? 
This album may not unequivocally rule, but it gets there to that kind of level at points. This is a self-titled album for Liars, but by no means is it their first album. The self-titled album can be a slippery slope, and traditionally bands get it out of the way first. Without thinking about it, the only other band that springs to mind with a self-titled album that isn't their first effort is the Velvet Underground and their third album which bore the name, Velvet Underground. (Writer's Confession: I absolutely love the third Velvet Underground album. It was one of my all-time, all-time favorite discs. In many ways, I believe that it may be a perfect album in the sense that every track is so god-damn good and that there is not a single clunker on the whole thing. You can just listen to it straight through with no complaints, and better yet you can listen to it over and over and over again. So good.) But, I digress. 
According to the internets, no two Liars albums sound the same. The first album demonstrated tremendous promise and boasted an exciting new sound. The follow-up was seen as pretty fucking strange, and while the third album elevated the group to new levels of awesomeness as music critics fawned over the disc and how the band had seemed to find their sound. Then they released Liars. They flipped the script on what they were doing, but were still managed to present themselves as at the forefront for what is happening in contemporary music. If that's too much to digest, then perhaps it would just be easier to say that the dudes in this band conceivably smoke a lot of ganja and as a result their music is kind of all over the place, but in a good way. 
Final Verdict: This album is quite good, and true treat for the ears. Furthermore, I am categorically a piece of shit for going so long without listening to it more.

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