Liars, now down to just Agnes Andrew, miss the mark on their latest LP.
Liars have always managed to be stay away from the norm, when all was basic indie, they continued to push barriers and that is never more true on the genre-bending, avant-garde tinge ‘Theme From Crying Fountain’ – the first record to be released as a solo effort by Angus Andrew after the group disbanded after 2014’s Mess.
The album explores Andrew’s loneliness and isolation following the breakdown of his and former bandmate Aaron Hemphill’s creative relationship and sounds incredibly different to what came before it. The two albums don’t feel worlds apart, but there is a very definite change in both mood and tempo, however all too often, the line between something sombre and meaningful, and something slow and irritating is tread upon.
‘Left Speaker Blown’, the final song from Mess, seems to perfectly predict what was due to come from TFCF. The song is a near seven-minute-long drone. The first song on the new record is ‘The Grand Delusional’, a (probably intentional) slow and grating start that feels like it is almost intense, but feels like it is lacking a certain depth – something which can be said for the whole album. It isn’t even that TFCF is a bad album, and even feels like it has some potential to be a good one, but there just seems to be something missing from it… Hemphill, perhaps?
The next song, ‘Cliché Suite’ sounds a bit like Delia Derbyshire (the sculptress of sound) and David Bowie had a musical baby, but again, it lacks something and leads into ‘Staring At Zero’. A track that has something reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ about it, and more of a creepy electronic feel, but still fails to really push the album in any sort of direction. TFCF slowly moves along in a similar fashion to the first three songs, with hints of Bowie here and there, but doesn’t seem to really be getting anywhere until we reach album highlight, ‘Cred Woes’. Cred Woes is a sumptuous blend of synths and upbeat electronic tones that ignites the album and serves as a perfect reminder of why TFCF garnered such hype prior to its release.
From here, the album does continue to excite and delight, but there remains tinges of the drab that came before but it isn’t enough to save an album strangely devoid of ideas. TCFN is in no way the worst album ever, but it is the worst album Liars have released, whether it be through its deliberately painful drones and grating textures, or just poor songwriting Andrew has made a huge misstep on this record. (3/10) (Jesse Casey)
Tags: Agnes Andrew, album review, Jesse Casey, Liars, Mute, New Album
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