Liars - Sisterworld
Liars are a band that have never conformed or done what is expected of them. Artists in the purest sense of the word, throughout their ten year career they have followed their vision unwavered by commercial remuneration or critical recognition. These values are demonstrated on their fifth album Sisterworld - a harsh and harrowing reaction to America’s pre-occupation with positive thinking.
This brutal collection of eleven tracks sees the band creating a bleak and tormenting vision. On the surface it’s a sonically minimal record with very few shafts of light. Dynamics shift from dark-grey to black, industrial noises hiss and guitars crash like metal-on-metal. But as progress is made past the surface layers a deeply complex and ambitious creature is uncovered. A vast array of instrumentation is employed to create this desolate world, but in perfectly measured amounts.
‘Scarecrow On A Killer Slant’ is an agonizingly abrasive experience. Inspired by a shooting on vocalist Angus Andrew’s LA doorstep, it unerringly translates the sense of terror and panic of an event that ultimately saw him exchange this less desirable neighbourhood for the leafy suburbs of the city of angels. A warning-siren guitar zig-zags across the track, underpinned by a uptight bass line creating an unnerving atmosphere, with Angus asking again and again “Why do you shoot the man with your gun?”
The bulk of the album dangles you over the edge of the precipice with little respite. But with the end in site an olive branch is offered up in the form of ‘Goodnight Everything’ and ‘Too Much, Too Much'. Their dark procession toward the finale is gilded with a knowing and acceptance of the certainty that comes from the corners of Sisterworld. It might be a austere space, but it’s theirs.
As a piece of art it manages to convey an unparalleled empathy with the anger and frustration from the American underbelly that a thousand Green Day’s could never achieve. It’s a cathartic listen that could never be described as pleasant, but then neither is its subject matter.