i sometimes love wilfully disagreeing with my friend about particular bands. metallica was a great example. but in a little bit of tribute to him, wishing him well on a journey for the next few weeks, i picked out liars to explore slightly more seriously the nature of disagreement and divergence when it comes to taste in music. i know this seems odd.
(nb. i felt a blockage for some time leading up to the half-way point of this project, including how i would write about one of my most dearly loved albums, viva last blues – which was the previous entry. so to move past that, it makes sense to return to the rest of the collection and go to a completely different part of the universe).
liars weren’t a band i thought i would like. the elements are not really what i know hits my psyche in a self-aware predictable way. and that’s perhaps why i do like them, because i am a little floored by what they create and my own reaction to it. and i discern that from crap – most music made today, i say as an old codger, just annoys me. i think liars annoy my friend. but they don’t annoy me.
there are some quite definite moments of punk, industrial and dark electronica (combining all, a great example here is the song if you’re a wizard then why do you wear glasses?). but in reality, it defies genre categories, and that seems to make it much harder to digest. in ways, if i had any talent to be a musician, i reckon it might land here – because they have a freedom in what they create, and no apparent care for how individuals or supposed arbiters of taste receive the music. you can tell they are making it for a different set of reasons to why most people are in bands, playing guitars, singing and thinking they’re living the dream. i am not entirely sure i could identify their reasons, but intrinsically they seem like good ones.
i will never say that i love what liars create. it’s not that kind of music. you would say you love it if you love having your stomach pumped. but you see very clearly that this is art and craft trying to tell disconcerting stories. angus couldn’t sing in a comforting way if he tried, so it’s always going to be of this type (might i be wrong?).
i think people wanting an album or a band like this to be something they clearly were never intended to be, speaks to the expectations people have when they chuck a piece of plastic in a player; or more likely stick a couple of cheaply made buds in their ears and paddle along the electronic stream of music, picking bits and pieces randomly or based on the suggestions of a computer algorithm (or worse, a trace of their actual consumption behaviour). this album is not based on anything remotely predictable or palatable.
there’s a suspicion i have that most modern-era music plays to the instant gratification expected by consumers in a world otherwise filled with no-delay climaxes and shareability.
when a band like liars completely rails against that force, it is to be celebrated; and not just for the sake of it.