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Liars - TFCF

(Vinyl LP)

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Liars have, as a matter of course, sounded radically different with each album, pursuing new concepts and occupying diverse mindsets. On this, Liars' eighth studio album, the bustling backdrops of Los Angeles, Berlin and New York have been replaced with a presence far more intimate and autobiographical as Liars once again boldly step out of their comfort zone into vastly new musical territory. Following an amicable parting of ways with Aaron Hemphill, Liars is now Angus Andrew, who decamped to his native Australia, specifically to a remote part of the Australian bush, to create an album unlike any Liars had attempted before.

But there's no defining style to TFCF, no overriding concept, as it shifts between sampled elements, brash processed sounds and "real" instrumentation, passages of pointed abstraction and passages of willful songcraft, avant gestures and genuine pop moments. There's no mask being hid behind, and the album is their most honest and autobiographical yet – possibly because Liars is no longer a "they," but a "he" presently. Angus describes TFCF as "a super-sad record," but this mood is offset by the restless creativity on display throughout the album.

In tandem with his embrace of the sampler, Angus also incorporated "authentic" sounds previously considered verboten within Liars; in particular, acoustic guitar. "That's always been a frightening prospect to me," he notes. "‘Real music', in the worst sense of that term." But there is acoustic guitar all over the new album, albeit often sampled and repurposed. "It gave me an opportunity to create a sound that was warmer and more sensitive. Which was important, considering the subject matter of the lyrics."

The album's reinvention of the Liars paradigm – blurring the lines between electronic and acoustic, between the experimental impulse and the addictive pop sensibility – is evidence that Angus' creative energies remain as healthy as ever, even given the upheaval within the group. TFCF was written and recorded by Liars. Butchy Fuego, who performed live with Liars following Julian Gross' departure in 2014, plays drums on three tracks. TFCF was mixed by Gareth Jones and mastered by Christian Wright.

 

 

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