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Liars - They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (Cover Artwork)

Liars

Liars: They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on TopThey Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (2002)
Blast First/Mute

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: relay1112relay1112
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Before I start the review, let me establish that Liars doesn't care what some music critic thinks about their shit. They don't care about you, the loyal listener. In fact, they don't seem to care about much of anything, besides crafting aggressively agitated yet danceable avant-punk. This album w.
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Before I start the review, let me establish that Liars doesn't care what some music critic thinks about their shit. They don't care about you, the loyal listener. In fact, they don't seem to care about much of anything, besides crafting aggressively agitated yet danceable avant-punk. This album will rock until you bleed, then keep on rocking. In fact, it'll keep rocking until the fuckin' nasty ending, but that's another story for another time (read: a later paragraph).

'Everybody yeah / in his or her own life / needs a hobby,' lead singer Angus Andrews mumbles groggily: an innocent, yawning beginning to a glass shard of an album. He grabs a nice bowl of Cocoa Puffs, showers a little (or, judging by the press photo, doesn't), before chanting 'Can you hear us?', and, subsequently, 'Wake up!' and continuing another day of obliterating musical preconceptions. Liars plays what is essentially bass-driven, danceable art-punk rock. Pat Nature lays down vertebral bass beats which primarily serve as an anchor for Andrews' ripcord voice. Drummer Ron Albertson contributes hi-hat-heavy drums to the mix for further foundation, accompanied by guitarist Angus Hempell's drumkit. The drumkit adds even more of a robotic, mechanical tinge to music that already sounds like assembled shards of metal from the industrial junkyard.

Liars demonstrate their partiality for long, awkward song titles and danceable beats in the first two tracks, 'Grown Men Don't Fall in the River, Just Like That' and 'Mr. You're on Fire Mr.' The third track, however, destroys what danceable groove they had; 'Loose Nuts on the Veladrome' relies on what is quite probably the least friendly beat I've ever heard. ESG joins Liars on 'Tumbling Walls Buried Me in the Debris, a song split into two halves; one reliant on perky drumkit grooves, the second a brooding, industrial breakdown.

Liars does as much as they can to disrupt whatever flow or routine they establish; just as the listener starts to get into the groove, they disrupt it with an awkward beat or the skeletal remains of a song. This is all done intentionally, of course; Liars doesn't care what you think. In fact, the more pissed you get, the happier they are. This is no more clearly evident anywhere than on the formidable anti-epic final track, 'This Dust Makes That Mud.' This song redefines pretentious. A fantastically industrial beat persists promisingly for the first five minutes, but doesn't stop there. Oh no. The beat continues for a full TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES along the EXACT SAME PATH. The first time I heard it, I listened intently to every minute, expecting a change to surely be just around the corner. I dared the music to change. I started rocking in my chair. My entire life ebbed and flowed; I went in and out of consciousness. I was completely absorbed, in waking and sleeping, with this infinitely curious, no, pretentious, no, DISGUSTING, production choice. How DARE they repeat the same beat for 25 straight minutes? The rest of the CD is only 26 minutes long!

I've never heard anything quite like Liars. They're generating quite a stir for such a pretentious act, but who says they don't deserve it? Few other bands have such an uncanny ability to perfect the love-hate relationship with their listeners. Not to mention their cover art and album title: They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top. Pure, unbridled anger, just like their music. You'll love them, you'll hate them, but somehow, both moments are equally as enjoyable. The entire album is a work of disrespectful art; even the 25-minute-outro. Whether this is sheer stupidity or pretentious genius is for the listener to decide. But no matter what you think, remember: Liars doesn't care. They're preparing their next stunt to make you hate them all over again.

Vocals - 8.8
Lyrics - 7.9
Instrumentation - 8.5
Production - 7.9
Cover Art/Booklet - 10.0
25-minute-repeated-sample-outro: 10.0

Overall score (not an average): 8.5

10.0 - Flawless
9.5-9.9 - Nearly perfect
9.0-9.4 - Essential
8.5-8.9 - Spectacular
8.0-8.4 - Highly Recommended
7.5-7.9 - Impressive
7.0-7.4 - Very Solid
6.5-6.9 - A consistent album with more than a few flaws
6.0-6.4 - Enjoyable
5.5-5.9 - Better than average; not many standout qualities
5.0-5.4 - Nothing special, but nice enough
4.0-4.9 - Listenable; only a few enjoyable moments
3.0-3.9 - Not worth the price
2.0-2.9 - Pitiful
1.0-1.9 - Terrifying
0.1-0.9 - Redefines awful
0.0 - Avoid it like the plague

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Modest Mouse - This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think AboutThe Flaming Lips - The Soft BulletinModest Mouse - The Moon and AntarcticaCursive - Burst And BloomNeutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The SeaDesaparecidos - Read Music / Speak SpanishWeezer - PinkertonCursive - The Ugly OrganCursive - DomesticaModest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 27, 2004)

so, you like pitchfork's rating system?

please do something original next time

relay1112 (May 3, 2003)

K, from now on it'll be like this:

Vocals: Good
Lyrics: Good
Instrumentation: Pretty Good

So you don't have to deal with all the scary numbers.

My review was barely a page, I'm sure you could take the two minutes it takes to read it. The breakdown gives you an idea of which parts of the music are good and which are weak. Giving more information is better than giving less.

Anonymous (May 3, 2003)

"Vocals - 8.8
Lyrics - 7.9
Instrumentation - 8.5
Production - 7.9
Cover Art/Booklet - 10.0
25-minute-repeated-sample-outro: 10.0

Overall score (not an average): 8.5"

stop turning rock and roll into math.... your long winded review was more than sufficient...

and tell everybody to stop plugging their shitty websites...

AdamSocial (May 2, 2003)

Hipster rock at it's finest. Hipsters suck.

Adam
www.pittpunk.com
www.absoultesweetness.com

FortyMinutesWest (May 2, 2003)

too*

FortyMinutesWest (May 2, 2003)

I agree, these guys seem to be trying to hard to be hip and different. Not horrible, but not that great.

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

honesty is overrated. if i pay money to see a show it better be good. damn it. not pretentious. so what if theyr;e honest t hat they hate the audience, they still suck.

Anonymous (May 1, 2003)

people and bands are just trying to be different sometimes. and you can come up with stuff like this, which is jsut different to be different, even though its really not good

Katie4213 (May 1, 2003)

i have had this album for a while now, and it is not one i can pop in at any time and enjoy, but it is really a good album for when you are in the mood. i think it is pretty creative.

FortyMinutesWest (April 30, 2003)

Whatever, I honestly am not affected either way by this band, but pretentious no matter whether the band intends it or not, is not good.

relay1112 (April 30, 2003)

That's what's so unique about a band like Liars... They do things to intentionally piss people off. The fact that people LIKE that is sort of a victory for them. They are pretentious, and they don't care, it's all part of the honesty of their music.

FortyMinutesWest (April 30, 2003)

Uh, do you know what pretentiousness is? It's not an enviable quality.

moldy (April 30, 2003)

"day hired some friggin professional artist for insomniac" the professional artist of which you speak is winsotn smith who did the dead kennedy artwork and while he may be an artist by profession hes not rich or anything by a long shot, he works a couple other jobs along with doing art. but art is part of the total package of the album, it should be something to represent the music or artist and in the best cases be an extension of artistic expression like radioheads kid a was or any of the DK albums with all the crazy collage work hendrix's axis bold as love, all had great artwork that helped expand what the music was about

eyeball_kid (April 30, 2003)

The perfect balance between pretentiousness and goodness.

waste_elite (April 29, 2003)

i really dig this band

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

the last track goes for about 7 or 8 minutes before it starts to repeat.

lieutenant (April 29, 2003)

This album rules the school like Chalmers.

relay1112 (April 29, 2003)

You said:
"and the 25-minute loop got talked about like it was 25 actual minutes of song tracks."

I said:
"The beat continues for a full TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES along the EXACT SAME PATH."

AND

"25-minute-repeated-sample-outro: 10.0"

That clear enough for you?

Also:

No mp3 on their site. No mp3 on their label site. Try Kazaa, I found some there. Just make sure to buy the album if you like it.

Finally:

Liars are touring with Yeah Yeah Yeahs. For details (or entertainment), read this hideous article from none other than MTV:

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1458129/20021015/story.j html

A nice little quote from the article:

"The two buzz bands will tour again beginning October 23 in Cleveland on a co-headlining tour carrying the biggest cachet of cool since the White Stripes and the Strokes played together this summer."

Love it!

relay1112 (April 29, 2003)

"Focus on the music, not the CD cover."

In case you didn't notice, the ENTIRE review was about the music. And with all your complaining about "indie bands that can't AFFORD great covers," just LOOK AT THE THING! It's a white background with a stick figure drawing. I just love the album title and art; it isn't fancy-computer-generated-expensive. Honestly.

I "piggy-back" (how you like that talkaround?) off of Pitchfork's rating system cuz no one knows what the stars on this site mean anymore. Every album either gets one star, three stars or five stars. This gives it a little more solidity and meaning, rather than just "one star sucks, two stars is bad, five stars is excellent..." etc.

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

Liars are decent, especially for being a young band. I am excited to hear what they release next. I saw them with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and they kind of bored me. I think the singer of Liars is dating Karen O. Little info there.

~jacobe

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

not a great album, but it is still very good.

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

er, any chance of an mp3?

inagreendase (April 29, 2003)

a lot of labels do put out great covers but you can't criticize the ones that can't afford said covers

inagreendase (April 29, 2003)

yeah, i kno he gave it a 10 but aren't ratings for cd booklets/covers rendered a bit useless when realizing that a lot of cds reviewed here are put out on indie budgets? green day hired some friggin professional artist for insomniac (the artist is not famous, but a pro nonetheless), and reprise ended up with what i think is one of if not the best album covers ever. focus a bit more on the music...and the 25-minute loop got talked about like it was 25 actual minutes of song tracks.

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

Can you say "Gang of Four"?

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

Great record.

And good job copping Pitchfork's rating system.

jheisel (April 29, 2003)

fyi this came out on gern blandsten first. does that mean my copy is a collectors item cuz i got it before they were hot shitt?

maverick (April 29, 2003)

Yeah, this CD rules.

-Scott

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

This album is flat out fucking amazing.

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