Liars, Mess – Album review

liars mess

The new longplayer from New York’s premier effect-drivers Liars begins with a series of repeated, ominous robotic commands. “Take my pants off,” it drones. “Smell my socks. Eat my face off. Eat my face off. Take my face. Give me your face. Give me your face!” And boom, we’re off and swinging with the killer opening track, ‘Mask Maker’.

Mess is a spooky amusement park ride, an electronic ghost-coaster. Liars, while rooted in more digital sounds, drench their records in a punk intensity that makes them one-of-a-kind. You move up and down with it, neck diving and scooping like a glitched swan. With ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D.’ we enter the dark tunnel, like a James Bond video game, inching along walls with a pixellated black gun, poised to shoot. Everything is smeared in a thick, grimy spookiness, an intelligent gloom. It sounds like a factory, teeming billows of smouldery fog. It’s a black, gnarled, twisted hunk of metal.

Then, Mess melts into something more experimental. From time to time it loses a little momentum – that or it suddenly blasts you out of the water, hair blown back on end. Either way, it sure isn’t a dull drive. ‘Darkslide’ is slimy, oozing under doorways like Alex Mack’s sinister twin. Finally, the record winds down to a seething, almost soothing pace with ‘Left Speaker Blown’. It evokes the moment after a gig/party when the lights creep on, tendrils of battered paper string squashed into the ground, humans limping away from the battle scene with sore feet and whining eardrums.

This record really is a mess – a wonderfully crafted one, fracturing and refracting. It’s an album that isn’t just flattered by volume, but requires it. It leaps from the speakers when given the decibel slack, mouth gaping, fingers clenching, soles stamping: I slap many stars on its pulsating left breast.

Mess is out on Friday, April 11 through Create/Control | Mute

Chloe Mayne


Liars, Mess review by Chloe Mayne.