A case study in perpetual reinvention
Once unhappily lumped into the genre of dance punk, Los Angeles, Calif., power-trio Liars can now only be described as ever-changing.
"We're more comfortable with that tag because it's not really a tag," drummer Julian Gross says. "It gives us the freedom to do whatever we want. A lot of bands break up so one member can start that ska project or do that whatever project. We're in the position where we can put out a heavy metal record and people aren't going to freak out about it."
That unbridled creative license can be a double-edged sword for Liars' fans. If you don't like one Liars album, try another, because you can bet it's different. But if you're digging what you hear or where you think the band is going, watch out, because the band might never make a record like that again.
“Magazines can kind of piggyback on each other when it comes to what is or isn't cool, but when it's some 16-year-old kid named Tiger Face, or whatever, I find their thoughts more interesting."
Critics have unleashed harsh words and tremendous praise for Liars, which has given the band a thick skin as well as a sense of humility. "None of what the critics say would make us change or shape the music we're going to make," Gross asserts. "But when it stings a little bit and when it's good, you don't really believe it. What I like reading more than professional critiques are the comments under our videos on YouTube or other fan responses. Magazines can kind of piggyback on each other when it comes to what is or isn't cool, but when it's some 16-year-old kid named Tiger Face, or whatever, I find their thoughts more interesting."
Liars’ most critically acclaimed record to date is also its most recent. Liars is about as close to straightforward rock as the band will ever get. You can identify honest-to-goodness song structures embedded beneath the atmospheric drone that is fast becoming Liars' calling card. There's still a pile of layers to sift through, and the lyrics are as cryptic and clever as ever. "We were trying to make it straightforward rock, which we haven't really done so much," Gross says. "There are four songs on there that are so straightforward they could be a bad version of a Nirvana song or a retarded version of a Led Zeppelin tune."