The traffic is backed up on the highway for hours. Someone just stole your wallet. You just found a strange rash on your ass. Your paycheck just bounced. The president continues to make useless, “in denial” speeches that only provide fodder for the Daily Show. Calgon take me away.
If ever we were in need of a soundtrack single for survival today, one that sparks a fire of determination versus deflation and defeat, it is the stunning first track “Plaster Casts of Everything” off of the Liars new self-titled release. Crank it loud and scream along to “I wanna run away! / I wanna run away! / I wanna run away!” in a very cathartic fashion, which beats the need for anti-depressions, putting a knife to the wrists, or wasting time on a shrink’s couch any day.
As the blood pressure starts to subside, get in the groove with the spacey, Beck-ish/vintage Jane’s Addiction slinky slide of “Houseclouds,” which is heard through kaleidoscope eyes. The psychedelic cloak continues to float from the experimental lab of “Leather Prowler” to something more sinister and dark. “What Would They Know” feels like the group was shacked up in Bela Lugosi’s castle with Joy Division’s Bernard Sumner during the remake filming of “Go Ask Alice,” portraying the story as the book’s author intended.
Without a spec of Advil to be found, “Houseclouds” and “The Dumb and the Rain” caused me to fast forward to preserve the little sanity I had at the time of various listening sessions, but lullaby tones of “Protection” were definitely soothing, even if the lyrics themselves posed many a question to be contemplated at a later time.
The hills, avenues and waves of their days in Los Angeles really come through the speakers, meshing with art school flair and the grittiness of New York’s concrete, which is juxtaposed with Angus Andrew’s (vocals/guitar) liquid, languid, dripping vocal lines. It’s not clear what affect Liars’ move to Berlin has had on their music writing, but the band could be in a one-horse town for all I care. This album’s biggest asset it’s the element of pleasant surprise, the clarity in the chaos, which set Liars apart from many a me-too band, me-too album that is prevalent in today’s musical streets.
The digital download of the single “Plaster Casts of Everything” includes B-sides of “Volcano Police” and “Mimic The Hurricano,” while the white vinyl version includes “Volcano Police.” The new video for the single, which is directed by Patrick Daughters (Beck, Feist, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon, The Shins, Bright Eyes) and features Karen O., is scary and exciting all at once, like a mini horror film.
Liars start their tour in September in New York, make their way to Denver on October 14 to play the Fillmore, and head out to SF on October 20 to hit Bill Graham’s Civic Auditorium.