Thursday, February 23, 2006

Liars - Drums not Dead 9.0

Drum's Not Dead is a majestic victory lap, and on all levels, a total fucking triumph.

Brandon Stosuy has entered my mind and stolen my thoughts. He nails this review and his feelings about this album are eerily similar to mine (Brandon will you be my friend?). I can't disagree with what he says, and 9.0 seems right, so let me instead pile on more praise for this album.

I am not lying when I say that I was the rare indie music listener who did not abandon the Liars when I heard their second full length. Did it do what the first album did and make me feel good like 3 strong cups of coffee at 1am? Well, no it did not. They went a total opposite direction from They Threw Us All... and its well they did. Dance-punk is a genre I enjoy, but the creative possibilities hit a wall at a certain point. For most bands in the genre that magical certain point is the 2nd album. Why not stave off the repetitiveness?

Was I initially turned off by They Were Wrong...?


But as soon as I let myself become detached from They Threw Us All... and let the album function on its own and separate I grew to love it. Hell I even sang the tunes in my head. "Fly fly, the devils in your eye. Shoot shoot. We're doomed! We're Doomed!" That is some highly enjoyable stuff right there.

So yes I have been a fan all along, yet I still wasn't prepared for Drum's Not Dead. This is the sound of a group that has been trying every trick in the bag and have finally found their definitive voice. It is hypnotically good. Bringing the percussion to the forefront gives the album a relentless forward projectory, and an overall cohesive feel. I have yet to listen to this album in snippets. Every spin i have given it has been of the full record. Maybe as a writer of fiction I am a sucker for the narrative form, but there is a beautiful story in this music, and it should be heard beginning to end. I think everyone has at one time had to deal with their own fear and the ability to overcome that fear. Liars tap into something universal and consequently open their canvas and audience. Let's face it, as much as i like They Were Wrong... not everyone can related to a dark album about witches. Except, you know, witches.

A Visit from Drum sets the tone for half the album with its relentless drums, and Angus' falsetto vocals. The flip side is Drum Gets a Glimpse, a shimmering ethereal thing that, and here again I aggree with Stosuy, is just a wall of guitars away from being an M83 song. And really that is the split personality of the album; the heartbeat of the drums and the quite beauty of everything else.

The Wrong Coat for you Mt. Heart Attack is a slow beast, a simple background vocal of "oooh" floating in and out. It was this song, that upon first listen, I realized this album was going places the band hadn't gone before. It is a simple beautiful tune, something I honestly couldn't see Liars doing a couple years ago. There was more of that to come. With each passing song i found myself instantly connecting with either the strangely alluring voice of Angus or the soothing repetition of the drums.

Not to cop everything from the Pitchfork review, but The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack is simply the best thing Liars have ever done. If you were to get into my Indie-rock time machine (Patent # 3449755) and play this song to someone who had just heard 'Mister you're on fire, Mister" for the first time they would call you a liar (no pun intended) if you said that both songs had come from the same band. This is hands down my favorite song of 06. Some band will have to come along and really shake my ass or make me weep to knock it from its position.

Not to sound like a sappy jackass, but have you ever had a moment in life when you stared at something simple and everyday, say a mile of street lights all lit up in perfect little rows or a tree in a park or even the clouds and been floored by how perfect and beautiful it is?

The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack is the musical version of that moment.

I can't imagine where the Liars go from here, but honestly I am not going to worry about it. I will follow them there. Until then I will savor this album for a long time.

PS: nobody better steal Sappy Jackass as their band name.