"[The Liars have] contempt for their audience . . . nothing that resembles forethought or emotion. Unlistenable" Grade: F
Spin Magazine, March 2004
" . . . a record you fear listening to" Grade: One Star (Poor)
Rolling Stone, March 2004
Did the Liars pee on some rock critics' corn flakes? Actually, all the New York City trio did was release its second album, the aptly-titled They Were Wrong So We Drowned. Sure, it's more experimental and abrasive than the band's universally-lauded 2001 punk-funk debut, and clearly it doesn't fit in with the current cookie-cutter rock revival pouring out of corporate America's music holdings, but is it really deserving of such spleen?
"When someone like us comes around and farts on a trend," explains Liars lead singer Angus Andrew in his thick Australian accent, "it upsets them. And usually they're vested in it one way or another. Since we're not buying into it, they have to criticize us."
Drowned is the kind of experimental noise rock stew -- cacophonous samples, processed blood-curdling yelps, and random industrial ambiance -- the mainstream rock press loves to hate on. Experimental, No Wave, industrial, or art rock bands like Sonic Youth, Skinny Puppy, Throbbing Gristle, This Heat, Foetus, Blonde Redhead, Einsturzende Neubauten and others are easy targets, and have been historically marginalized in favor of commercial twaddle like Britney or Kid Rock -- which doesn't mean the Liars won't rock the Old Brickhouse on Sunday, April 4.
At a show in New York City last month, Andrew wrapped a scarf around his head, ambling across the stage like a mummy while howling to a variety of pulverizing and dissonant sounds -- which may have been less spontaneous than it seemed. "It took us two months to figure out how to play this record," says Andrew, who studied the electronic duo Matmos when it backed Bjork last summer. "Seeing how they made all those sounds really helped us."
Don't expect a repeat of the band's last Phoenix area performance. "We played at the Lab in Tempe," says Andrew, "which was really just some kid's house. We played in the kitchen and got through three songs before the cops came. I want to give a shout out to those amazing Lab kids." Consider it done.
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