Liars: Apple Drop album review
For most of Liars’ 20-year career, Angus Andrew, the blur of the brooding charisma that keeps the electro-rock group Chameleon together, avoided listening to contemporary music for fear it would contaminate his vision. At their best, the Liars looked like aliens who had heard rock, classical and whale songs launched into space on a NASA gold record and discovered they had an odd talent for music. of the earth. With this in mind, their tenth album, Apple drop, struck by its normality. It could often pass for Nick Cave as produced by John Carpenter, which is the kind of chandelier these mute lifers typically repel, but it’s streaked with layers of their past and their characteristic weirdness. It’s the best thing Andrew has done in at least a decade.
Liars began as part of the legendary indie rock class of 2001, when Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn was briefly the center of the known world. There was Andrew, a very tall Australian walking arm in arm with Karen O, in the mascot couple of the Williamsburg lofts. “All he knew was that I was the other guy around who was in ESG,” recalls Rapture’s Luke Jenner in Meet me in the bathroom, the essentials of Lizzy Goodman’s oral history. This affinity fueled Liars’ beginnings, They threw us all in a trench and stuck a monument to the top. A furious noise-funk smut, it was one of the first significant recordings of his Brooklyn demi-monde, and it came out ahead of the national dance-punk fad that ensued when a new generation found out. Gang of Quatre’s agitprop and sprechgesang style and wire.
While Liars have been too weird and devious to reach the popular heights of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Strokes, or Interpol, they’ve had a longer or more consistent history than their peers, even after squandering their goodwill through the 2004s. They were wrong so we drowned, which looked like Trench had been moistened into a ball and then left in a cold place to dry. (“Unlistenable”, TOURNAMENT. “[D]is disturbingly rooted in the fucking what? Lou Reed tradition Metal machine music, ” Rolling stone.) In 2006, they rallied Drum is not dead, on which Andrew, along with his fellow students Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross, forged effects-laden ceremonial drums and coldly enraptured falsetto vocals into something old, ahistoric and sublime.
This avant-garde production and this turtle brain bass hovers over Apple drop, just like the sounds of Liars’ other two questionable masterpieces, the eponymous 2007 garage rock record and the 2010 cutscene Sisters’ world. But the creative partnership of Andrew, Hemphill and Gross, which carried the self-proclaimed tension of constant reinvention, began to show the wear and tear of the Spartan electronics of WIXIW before falling flat in the dance-pop of Disorder. The group amicably split up, leaving Andrew, who now lives in a remote part of Australia, the last lying liar. It took him two lost and lonely solo albums to mourn the partnership, the fruits of which are so lucidly digested on Apple drop that it sounds like both a summary and a fresh start.
“Star Search”, where Andrew’s voice and plunking piano are repeatedly engulfed in storms of electronic harmony, would relate to the opaque thematic concept at the center of Drum is not dead, but who could tell? And Andrew said that “King of the Crooks” is a song he never really cracked at that time. The remarkable track, “Sekwar”, sounds like what Disorder could have been, boil the EDM until all that’s left is big drums, volatile basses, and sheer guitar frills. “The Start” is like a laid back Nine Inch Nails, with an avuncular alternative rock vibe that also floats through songs like “Big Appetite”. As moods range from atmospheric to aggressive, sculpted rhythms and dark-hued instrumentation lead this suave tour of Liars’ history and offer a glimpse into his revitalized future.
The music has been refined and clarified by a few recent accomplishments for Andrew, turns on which the laconic musician has been relatively talkative. In 2019 he was a judge for the Australian Music Prize and hearing new music changed his mind about his monomaniac process. Aspiring to a music community, he hired jazz drummer Laurence Pike and multi-instrumentalist Cameron Deyell to play studio material he could recompose on the computer. Mary Pearson Andrew, his wife, helped refine his quicksand lyrics, which seem meaningless on the page but somehow fill with meaning when Andrew sings them, whether in a deep, slow croon, a shy barking or a shaky pleading. The collaborators seem to pull together and contain his chaotic energy in unusually tidy songs, although another thing has also helped: the new benefits of replacing anxiety drugs with psilocybin, which Andrew describe as a key to making this album. It’s true: he made his least trippy album while tripping. How is Liars?
To buy: Gross trade
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