In 2001, The Liars released their debut, They Throw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, an album filled with noisy hi-hats, heavy low end grooves and actual samples from the Bronx bred 80's act, ESG. Reviewers, or actually, that group of people who must place everything in a specific genre with no overlapping, were quick to throw around labels like indie, dance, post-punk, and a slew of a bunch of other ridiculous, dreamed up genres.
In 2002, they were rumored to have an album ready which was pigeonholed. After some serious self promotion, and possibly self reflection, they release their sophomore effort in 2004, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. As soon as I discovered that The Rolling Stone and Spin had basically called this album crap, I jumped at the chance to give it a review hoping to contradict the sh** out of those monetarily influenced "male body organs."
To get the full feel, I had to run through this album about four times, some tracks five. From what I could discern, this album seems like an ode to German Witchcraft. The album opens up with "Broken Witch," a song full of spooky chimes and clacking drums in addition to the dark samples courtesy of Aaron Hemphill. The lead single, "There's Always Room On The Broom," opens with drum cymbals that give off a woozy jangle before noisy guitars fills an atmosphere already clouded with relentless hisses and an electronic dance beat. "If Your a Wizard, The Why Do You Wear Glasses," counteracts the previous track with explosive screaming, howls and grunge heavy bass. The next track, "We Fenced Other Houses With The Bones of Our Own," sounds like old school Cabaret Voltaire with eerie lyrics, "Fly, fly, the devils in your eye, shoot, shoot." The following tracks, which boasts the most humorous song title I have ever heard, "They Don?t Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids," is also the most upbeat (well upbeat with respect to the other tracks) and poppy cut on the album. "Hold Hands, And It Will Happen Anyway," is complete with rolling drums, prominent crescendos, fuzzy guitars and an amazing 4-4 dance punk beat that The White Stripes may have a hard time keeping up with. The album ends with "Flow My Tears the Spider Said," a slow tempo, melodramatic, organ driving march with fading chants and a witch brewing, the perfect end.
I once read an interview where lead singer Angus Andrew talked about the fact that they don't make music for people, but rather, heavy chord driven numbers that they can amp out on. Musical drugs if you will. That statement pretty much sums up this album. If you are into their tastes, you'll love it. As an outsider looking in, the LP is not the crap that high profiled, mainstream magazines claim it to be, but it is rather a slowly digesting sound for your ears. Give the whole album a run through at least three times before you judge it. This band reminds me of Midtown. Though they don't have the standout, catchy sound, there is just something that is in the music, some layered groove, that just speaks volumes.