Oh, to be a misunderstood artist.
After firing out of the gates with their exceedingly violent punk-funk debut, Liars threw a wrench in the works. They ditched their rhythm section, released a concept album about witch trials that Spin called "unlistenable", then moved to Berlin and essentially became the new This Heat. They Were Wrong, So We Drowned stripped away the trendy Gang of Four-isms of their debut, leaving only a bleached-white musical skeleton. But the band's new album Drum's Not Dead (out 3/21 in the US) begins to put some muscle -- or at least some Gristle -- back on that skeleton. Everything screeches and falls apart, crackling with an odd tension that is never given proper release. It's pretty much the perfect album for walking really fast, but never quite breaking in to a full run.
And, according to the press release, this ones a concept record too: "The album's title and several track names refer to two fictional characters: Drum and Mount Heart Attack. For the band they are like Yin and Yang, each a state of being. Drum is assertive and productive, the spirit of creative confidence. With two drum kits integral to many of these percussive, propulsive, highly rhythmic convulsions, Drum came to be acknowledged as a fourth member of the band. Conversely, Mount Heart Attack is the reaction to Drum's action, the embodiment of stress and self-doubt. Both became key elements in the creative process."
Ummm . . . okay, duders, whatever you say.
Is the world ready for the Liars in 2006? If a bull terrier can win "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, just about anything can happen, right? The (cough) "single" (cough) "It Fit When I Was A Kid" has been ramrodding around the Internerd for a minute, but if you still haven't copped, go grab it at Kill Your Co-Workers , then find a killer remix of "The Drum and the Uncomfortable Can" at 20 Jazz Funk Greats .
-- Eli Anderson