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Rhythm & Views

Liars

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You know the sound that happens when your CD player gets stuck, repeating over and over the same nugget of digital information, and the effect feels not unlike a computerized, diamond drill boring into your skull?

That sound is the central musical theme (supported by some tribal drumming and delicious little electronic squiggles) of the song, "Steam Rose From the Lifeless Cloak" on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, the brilliant second album by the New York City-based band Liars.

Most folks who heard Liars' first album, 2002's They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, either loved it or hated it, depending on whether they appreciated that CD's Gang of Four-style industrial-funk-punk polemics.

The band moves in an exciting new direction with their new release, which is something of a concept album about the hunting and persecution of supposed witches.

In the grand tradition of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, Neu!, the Residents, Germs, Sonic Youth and DJ Terminator X, Liars has created an album that refashions heretofore unmusical sounds as terrific music.

A rare, creative flash of music that sounds completely new and original, this album is a true exploration of the art of noise. The combination of lo-fi electronic assault, odd time signatures and weird analogue clatter provides a jarring, Cubist setting for the harrowing songs drawn from singer-songwriter Angus Andrew's extensive studies of folklore and history.

Liars may promise an illicit taste of pagan sensationalism, but they deliver a fierce statement about superstition, paranoia and the all-too-human distrust of that which is different than us. They Were Wrong, So We Drowned is an extended metaphor, a fable that couldn't be more applicable today.

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