Drawing on a raw, ragged roots-punk ethos that's served everyone from The Pogues to Against Me!, Tempe's Liars Handshake stokes the same passionate fury. Featuring the core of the old punk outfit Bullet Train to Moscow, the band's led by the gruff, raucous vocals of Jared Christy. The quintet offers exuberant energy more infectious than a room full of preschoolers, and equally fun-loving. Stand-up bassist Nolan Thompson's hard-slapping sound makes up for their lack of a drummer. Whether stirring up an alcohol-soaked mix of bluegrass and Irish jigs on the hard-drinking sing-along "Empty Beers," or pleading through the violin-stung, hard folk-strum of "Answer Your Phone," there's an anxious intensity infusing their music, like sitting next to a tweaker fiddling around with a vial of nitroglycerine, except the boom is half the fun, as Christy assails the fickle scenesters ("Trading in Your Friends for a White Belt and a $60 Haircut") and waxing poetic about this "Dirty Old Town."
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