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Liars: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned

Liars helped launch the rock scene's current penchant for all things post-punk with They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, a 2001 disc that made an early turn toward hissing hi-hat drums and heavy low-end grooves. Boasting an actual sample of Bronx-born '80s act ESG and nods to the Gang Of Four riffs that continue to be mined by countless indie bands, the album hinted at a weird, wandering desire. But it took a few years of almost universally reviled live shows—all listless preening and exploratory mood moves—for Liars to effectively flee its clunky rock beginnings. They Were Wrong, So We Drowned picks up on Liars' live strains but twists them into a startling fray of knotty noise and tingly grist serving a purgative logic that's hard to shake off. "Broken Witch" opens with a mess of haunting chimes and clacking drum fits braced against rhythmic vocal screeds about horses, blood, and endless winter. Angus Andrew sounds like he never met a non sequitur he didn't think divine, but his vocal drive, both naked and shrouded in layers, proves as direct and urgent as any in rock's artier corners. The popular backstory pitches They Were Wrong as a concept album about witchcraft, but its words serve more like noir suggestions amid creeping shadows of sound. The album is about noise first and foremost, and Liars' three studio-heads wield a brusque command over their pallet-smearing strokes. "There's Always Room On The Broom" rides a raunchy groove of modem feedback and insistent drum cymbals. "If Your A Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses?" skulks through contained explosions and screaming response. "We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Our Own" eases back with the meandering menace of Cabaret Voltaire, the old band that sounds closest to Liars' present-day heart. Anyone expecting a breakout album by a group poised to break out might be left wanting. But as a lateral move to post-punk's crinkly margins, They Were Wrong is an ante-upping exercise, as entrancing as it is bracing.


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