Local Wire

Liars Academy

On Demons, its second album, this Baltimore band demonstrates that emo needn't be the sound of 15-year-old guys complaining about a dateless prom night. Liars Academy plays a muscular post-punk hard rock that's distinguishable from the alternative rock of Bush and Live because it's not as catchy or as memorable; the band seems to identify with the first-wave emo of Washington, D.C., bands like Rites of Spring more than later iterations by New Found Glory and their kind. Front man Ryan Shelkett reflects that musical austerity in his lyrics, which grapple with the fear of fading away common to guys who make music that can sound like fading away: "I lock myself away in my house," he sings in "Dying As Fast As I Can." "The city is full of clowns."

Occasionally, things brighten, as in the mildly swinging "People Are Games," where Shelkett searches "for someone to recover me," and occasionally things darken intriguingly, as in "Demon," which recalls the disturbed crunch of Jawbreaker. But mostly Demons makes me want to hear 15-year-old guys complaining about a dateless prom night.

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Mikael Wood