Liars – TFCF

Angus Andrew returns with a fractured, aching Liars record that's more than worthy of the time it'll take to unravel

Album Review by Stephen Butchard | 21 Aug 2017
  • Liars - TFCF
Album title: TFCF
Artist: Liars
Label: Mute
Release date: 25 Aug

Liars have been in a state of flux their whole career. Dance-punk, experimental rock, spooky ambience and hard-nosed techno make up some of their many mutations. Surprisingly, they’ve thrived with each new sound. No two albums sound the same, and no one quite sounds like them. TFCF (or Theme from Crying Fountain) is just as unstable. After the amicable departure of founding guitarist Aaron Hemphill, Angus Andrew returned to Australia to write as Liars’ sole member, rebuilding the band from the ground up.

TFCF is a fractured, aching record, formed from clattering drum loops, eerie acoustics and hollowed-out vocals. Pieces of the band’s history creep up as influences; the rawness of Drums Not Dead blends with the weightless quality of WIXIW at points. But TFCF feels distinct in how it flits between these archetypes. The dreary folk of The Grand Delusional opens into a sour beat that verges on hip-hop. Cred Woes sticks close to the starkness and momentum of the band’s last album, 2014’s Mess, before introducing a garage rock riff, melting into an eerie soundscape moments later. The galloping death march Coins in a Caged Fist cuts directly into a pensive ballad, Ripe Ripe Rot, where muffled orchestral loops match Andrew’s defeated vocal.

As soon as you get a grip on it, TFCF wriggles into another shape. But even at its weirdest, Angus Andrew’s songwriting couldn’t be clearer, and that’s what makes it a mess worth unravelling.

Listen to: Cred Woes, No Pamphlet