By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
Release Date: 3/24/14
Despite bouncing rhythms and club-worthy dance beats, Brooklyn electro-art-punk act Liars dabble in dark, slightly uncomfortable subject matter. Coming off the success of 2012’s WIXIW, the group has cemented a contemporary yet satirical post-indie sound, the gets bodies moving and minds ticking.
With the release of Mess via Mute Records, Liars have continued to flirt with mainstream noise while still remaining completely under the radar. The album features the signature electronic sound the band has crafted over their decade-long career, but still shows signs of evolution and maturing. Powered by slamming synths and undeniable catchiness, Mess picks up right where WIXIW left off and continues to curve left of center throughout.
Kicking off with the highly-danceable “Mask Maker,” Mess establishes itself from the get-go and catches your attention. Seemingly feel-good tracks like “Vox Turned D.E.D.,” “Pro Anti Anti” and lead single “Mess on a Mission” offer an almost EDM feel, with hints of psychedelia. They sound similar to older Daft Punk, but with a much sharper edge.
However, Side B of Mess sees Liars taking a turn for the dark side. The aptly titled “Darkslide” and the menacing “Boyzone” feature an Autolux-meets-The Knife sound, quick with wit and febricity. Lengthy tracks “Perpetual Village” and “Left Speaker Blown” conclude Mess on a satisfying yet someone incomplete note. The album feels as if it’s going somewhere, but never quite gets there. Perhaps this was done intentionally, almost as the sounds of the previous record set the stage for this release.
All in all, Mess is top to bottom a pretty good listen. Some tracks like “I’m No Gold” and “Dress Walker” lean toward predictability, but nonetheless are solid and interesting. Standout tracks include “Vox Tuned D.E.D.,” “Pro Anti Anti” and “Darkslide.” For fans of Blonde Redhead, Autolux, The Knife, and perhaps even some newer electronic and EDM acts, Mess will serve as a pleasing listen.