Review: Liars – MESS
Published on April 2nd, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
The eccentric, synthetic paranoia of Liars’ 2012 album WIXIW was one of our favourites of that year, and their forays into electronica continue to reap dividends on seventh LP MESS.
Opener “Mask Maker” is downright sinister, like Beck, The Knife, Nine Inch Nails and The 2 Bears battling it out in some nightmarish kind of space disco to the pitch-lowered refrain of “Eat my face off / Take my face / Get me your face / Gimme your face”.
It’s a madness that conjures a mental image of robots freaking out to the realisation of their own, suddenly acquired sentience, worlds away from the dark, thrashy fantasia of Liars’ acclaimed 2010 LP Sisterworld.
Whacking great parps of monstrous synth bass prop up “Vox Tuned D.E.D.” as canned strings are let fly, Angus Andrew’s commandingly economical vocal melody offsetting the thrillingly unsettling sort of Simian/Simian Mobile Disco vibe.
“I’m No Gold” and “Boyzone” both sound as if they’re flaring up around a digital metronome, “Can’t Hear Well” manages to convey sweetness through its disorientated wooziness and pulsating zaps of glowing vintage synth, while “Darkslide” somehow does good by its title with a squelchy, splatting, rattling psychedelic stomp.
Set-closer “Left Speaker Blown” starts surprisingly tenderly then melts off into Boards of Canada-verging-on samplery, leaving us to dwell on what an unholy MESS this lot have once again delighted us with.
Here’s hoping that Liars never change – by which, of course, we mean they should always change.
MESS is out now on Mute.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!