The Liars say of their new record (simply titled “Liars”), “We wanted to write songs that reminded us a little of what it is like to be a teenager” which is apropos, because my recollection of being a teen was sex jokes, a time of unbridled energy, and everyone—well, lying. Granted, there aren’t any discernable sex jokes on the album though “Leather Prowler” could be one... or a call to arms for sexual deviants and midnight stalkers. But what isn’t these days? What Liars’ album Liars has is something of a pastiche of the bands they loved in their own teen years and I am willing to bet that these gawky pimpled youths had Jesus and Mary Chain ball-point-penned all over their stone washed jean jackets.
The Liars pride themselves on chance taking in their music and films (heck, even their website is a little out there) and this is their attempt, according to their press release, of adopting an “excitingly insidious new pop edge.” The pop is swathed in tornadoes of noise and sticky echoes, making any song from this album more likely to end up in a David Lynch movie than an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but it's poppy nonetheless. And often hummable.
The strongest connection that this album has to the Liars’ previous efforts is the juggernaut drums that menace their way through many of the songs. The beat tends to be a mix of ominous march and disco stomp. It asserts itself as the bones of a band that isn’t afraid to sear you with rock noise and yet still maintains an affinity for OMD and Depeche Mode.
After a few listens my suggestion to the band would have been to focus a bit more on their pop edge, as the album’s best moments are its most lucid. Protection and Sailing to Byzantium get in the groove, whereas Pure Unevil trudges along with its amplified deep-sea sonar drone in territory so thoroughly navigated by Jesus and Mary Chain that I still half expect to hear mumblings about honey or feeling good on your motorbike.