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A Magazine for Sheffield


Dark and angular is the way to describe Liars new record Mess. They have always embraced the aesthetic of post punk bands like A Certain Ratio and Gang Of Four and their seventh album is no exception, with the addition of the electronic sounds of artists like Kraftwerk with a more sinister edge.

Opening track ‘Mask Maker’ begins with a deep robotic voice venting lines like “Eat my face off.” These words are married to a repetitive pulse rhythm and funky beat, making the track strangely seductive. Throughout Mess, the New Yorkers exploit the idea of making dance music with an element of menace. The song ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D’ has an electronic bass that is reminiscent of a chainsaw mixed with swirling pad sounds and Angus Andrew's detuned vocals.

On the majority of the record Andrew's voice has been manipulated to the point of indecipherability. This nonetheless does result in the music being slightly unnerving or unsettling. His voice is used for great effect on lead single ‘Mess On A Mission’ as a deadpan tone switches to a high-pitched yelp for the chorus.

One of the problems with this album is that the longer it progresses, the more the band come across as a one-trick pony. On the shorter songs Liars succeed in making tight and dynamic music, but on longer jams like ‘Left Speaker Blown’ and ‘Perpetual Village’ it can become jarring. They also pay tribute to New Order with ‘I'm No Gold’, with a kick drum very reminiscent of ‘Blue Monday’. This could see them labelled as copyists, but like LCD Soundsystem before them they manage to add enough of their own character and personality. Mess does have some exciting moments, but there is too much filler for it to be considered a consistent effort.