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Album Review

by Liars

Mute Records

Review Date
30th Apri 2010
Reviewed by
Paul Gallagher

Sisterworld sounds as if it's some sort of Harmony Korine-run lake resort town, brimming with anxiety and apprehension, where you might go to indulge every neurosis or violent bent and where every savage indiscretion might be hurriedly disguised beneath the waves.

Concerned with the alternate spaces that people create for themselves within the vast expanses of modern society – case in point, the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles – Liars have set out to explore the connections that deadbeats, drop outs and loners maintain with the rest of the general public. What is it that makes them tick? Where is their saviour, when they’re fighting their own reflections and dancing-with-fists in the shadows of a liquor store carpark?

Liars have always been a band steeped in tension. Theirs is a true love affair with sound. And true to form in Sisterworld they seem not to want any liberation, any relief from the gut rot strain of it all. They’re happy to let it bubble away at the listener, letting it cloud their existence until the only way to regain that visibility and that sweet release is to let the album grind out to a close.

If there was ever an album by Liars that focused on craft, this is it – surprising perhaps considering the meticulous constructions that were Drum’s Not Dead (2006) and They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004). Sisterworld has meddled with that obsessive compulsive need for control and moulded aspects of the more (albeit fractionally so) freer compositions of their self titled release (2007) and They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (2001).

Sisterworld is built upon solid foundations of layered sound texture and ephemeral ambience toyed against Kraut-rock angst. If you want the brash Liars of albums past, Scarecrows on a Killer Slant punches out accusatory paranoia. Drop Dead offers a moment or two of unhinged manic stuttering. Yet, there remains some solace for the social maligned – with I Still Can See An Outside World bringing some level of escape for those trapped within the troubled minds of a band past the point of attending your wellbeing.

Liars are not without culpability, not without guilt - as Angus Andrew sings in the album’s single Scissor: I’m supposed to save you now, but my hands are flipping out. They too suffer the rats and mice milieu of society – and they’re just too pleased to inform you of their liability. With this album, Liars have continued to skitter within the shadows and dark lanes of music’s hallowed halls. If you’re already accustomed to their schizoid meanderings – welcome. If you’re new to Liars and all that they offer, then this is the perfect record to immerse yourself in. Just dare to let it close over you.

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