Liars release fourth album and tour with Interpol, but who can believe them?

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:: Liars :: Fillmore Auditorium :: October 14 ::

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By Tiffany Childs
Liars is a band known for drastic musical shifts in each of their albums and their latest release, the self-titled Liars, is no different. With their mystical and heavy sound, Liars is a band that has grown used to gaining and alienating fans with every new release. Liars, however, may see the band gain more admirers than ever before because this isn’t just a reinvention; it’s a brand new start for the group, using a simplistic approach to songwriting that we haven’t seen or possibly even imagined coming from Liars.
In a recent interview with The Marquee, Aaron Hemphill (percussion/guitar/synth) told us that this tendency to change each album is actually purposeful and not just a reaction to their previous work. “When we are making an album we try to exhaust all the possibilities before moving on. We try to make it so everything is covered in whatever style we are doing. And then we make a natural transition to what we’re interested in next,” he said.

The band — Angus Andrew (vocals/guitar) and Julian Gross (drums) round out the trio — definitely covers every possible scenario when making an album. Their last release, Drums Not Dead, came with an entire multi-media package in which each track had three distinct short films. Although Liars leaves behind the 30-minute “sound collages” as well as the multi-media aspects, it is still an album that showcases the group’s creative ability and, according to Aaron, was just as much, if not more work due to how quickly they created it.
Andrew said of the record, “We aimed to make songs that weren’t going to require a concept. Aaron and I wanted to write songs that spoke for themselves in a more visceral way — like when you’re a teenager and things really mean a lot for you in a song.” So they went back and listened to bands they liked as teenagers, people like OMD, The Cure, and Siouxsie and The Banshees, and created songs to remind themselves of what it was like to be a teenager and have a record make a real impact on you.
Besides not being a “concept” album, Liars sees the band demonstrate a previously unseen range of music within one record. In past albums, Liars usually picked a specific genre, whether it be dance-punk or electro-acoustic experimentation. This album, however, jumps from Beach Boys-influenced melodies to no-fi electric shuffles, all without missing a beat. Hemphill told The Marquee, “It is exciting that people look for changes in each album,” but that there was a more common element than people often see. Ultimately, he says, what fans hear is not so different after all. It’s more of an emphasis on different parts of a song, rather than creating a whole new style each time they record.
As Andrew mentioned, both he and Hemphill write the songs. What is a bit awe-inspiring is that they do it separately, sometimes half a world away from one another, as was the case for Liars — Andrew was in L.A. and Hemphill in Berlin — up until two weeks before recording. “We just send demos to one another. It’s rare that we come up with songs together,” Hemphill said. And even if their aim for the record’s sound is different, Andrew said he was more interested in the bass, while Hemphill focused on the “high-end trebly stuff,” they still met on the idea: “writing songs about freedom and teenage melodrama.”
The trio is taking those teenage melodrama songs on tour with Interpol and they are pretty pleased about the opportunity. “Interpol’s audience is pretty cool and open-minded and are responding well to us. It’s exciting to play for people who don’t know you when you convert them into fans,” Hemphill said of the tour.
In what must be taken with a little skepticism, Hemphill told The Marquee that Denver was his favorite place to play. And although he refused to say anything further, he did mention that they were all happy to be touring in general in America again, this time playing larger venues and previously unvisited states.
Playing in bigger places and new states definitely presents some challenges, though. “We certainly have different acoustic challenges now in the larger venues and the challenges are a little scary, but we’ve always been a band that wanted to do what is scary for us,” Hemphill concluded. However, with a fourth album release and touring as the opening act for Interpol, life for Liars must certainly be looking a little less scary.
:: Liars ::
::FIllmore Auditorium :: October 14 ::

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