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First Impression: Liars – Sisterworld

By ; November 9, 2009 at 1:02 AM 


First Impressions gives you some insight into some of the most highly anticipated releases. This first piece was cooperatively written by Evan Kaloudis and Aidan Galea.


“Scissor” opens with mournful backing vocals, that are reminiscent of a funeral choir. Lead vocals are then overlaid, “I found her with my scissor…” and the choir-like vocals slowly replaced with strings; not a quartet, but more of a lone cello and violin. Abruptly, the song shatters and all hell breaks loose, guitars run rampant, and the drums enter a stage of insanity.

Liars - Sisterworld

No Barrier Fun

This track is more obvious, with the instrumentation being clear and distinct. The track revolves around a bass riff which could easily be mistaken for something on Beck’s Modern Guilt or The Good, the Bad and the Queen’s self-titled effort. However, over the bass riff is a very subtle oscillation of a looped delay pedal. Very jazz-like drums are introduced, with a lone violin interjecting at the end of the now recognisable bass line. It’s a very bare bones song in that regard. It’s one of the most immediate songs that Liars have ever made, but it still possesses their doom and gloom undertones, which, in this track, is conveyed mostly through the vocals, “I wanna make it up.” The bass riff continues over and over, through out the whole song, but it never grows tired.

Here Comes All The People

“Here Comes All The People” relies predominantly on the guitar, bass and drum formula that Liars have manipulated and distorted throughout their career, leaving room for strings in the bridge to rise maniacally. The menacing bass line teases and taunts, almost ensuring listener will be having nightmares the next time they sleep.


One of the more subtle tracks on Sisterworld, “Drip” begins with a dark ambience, of a lone piano note fading in-and-out over feedback and a single tom drum. Angus Andrew opts in, brooding incandescently, “Don’t you ever check me out, because I’m all alone.” The percussion gradually picks up, giving the track some speed, but “Drip” maintains static, until dispersed piano is overlaid, confirming the theme of paranoid mania that runs throughout the album.

Scarecrows On A Killer Slant

“Scarecrows On A Killer Slant” is an extremely up-tempo affair; a pure rock out. “Scarecrows” is the “Plaster Casts of Everything” equivalent of Sisterworld. While it may simply be three chords going back and forth, accompanied by a droning bass line of two notes, “Scarecrows On A Killer Slant” is almost hypnotic; a fuzzed out rock pendulum, swinging back and forth casting you under its spell.

I Still Can See An Outside World

Following the destructive path that “Scarecrows” set, “I Still Can See An Outside World” pulls the reigns, and slows down. Soft guitar flickers up and down, with all three Liars singing in unison, before bass becomes intermittent, and the distorted post-punk that was seen in “Scarecrows” returns. While not as fast paced, it’s still pleasant to hear Liars go into overdrive, even if it is short lived, as the song concludes, reprising the soft introduction.

Proud Evolution

“Proud Evolution” plunges into a delayed riff that one might expect the album to burst into a pop anthem. However, this is Liars we’re talking about here. The delay riff desists, and is replaced by a subtle bass riff and soothing vocals over a sustained chord. A rhythmic slice of drum and bass pleasantly break the tedium, creating the foundations of “Proud Evolution.” The ear candy that was the delayed riff in the introduction thankfully returns, as Andrew repeats beyond, “Proud Evolution/You Should Be Careful.” “Proud Evolution” is perhaps the most accessible Liars track to date.

Drop Dead

Perhaps one of the album’s weaker tracks, “Drop Dead” is a bit of a mess, with guitars and bass encountering in somewhat of a violent confrontation. It alludes to Liars earlier days of unorganised havoc. The classical aspects of the album which were very predominant in the earlier tracks make a subtle return, as strings softly compliment the traditional guitar, bass and drum combination. “Drop Dead,” interestingly enough, can speak volumes for the album, as while it is not particularly a stand-out track, it does emphasise the notion that the album is seemingly very short. Every track surpasses the three minute mark with ease, but as each song concludes, you sit back and wonder where it just went. It’s fleeting.

The Overachievers

“The Overachievers” can be described as dancing hand in hand with “Scarecrows on a Killer Slant,” as it increases the tempo, and makes use of simplistic, and almost shoegazing like guitar, to create that desired rock out. Lyrically, “The Overachievers” is perhaps the most interesting track of the entire album, being somewhat of a diatribe towards Los Angeles, with references to surfing in Malibu amongst other things. It’s catchy too, with an invigorating melody, followed by a reprise of shouty, “L.A. L.A.” being repeated over and over again. It’s definitely one of the album’s easier moments to absorb.

Goodnight Everything

It’s evident that Liars truly were monitoring the pace with Sisterworld. The fluctuation of fast paced songs followed by slower tracks is blatantly obvious, and it comes down to personal choice as to whether it is perceived as consistent or not. What should be noted, is that “Goodnight Everything” is deceiving. It reintroduces the classical instrumentation of the earlier parts of the album, with what almost sounds like a bassoon, beginning slow. However, in what is becoming expected within Sisterworld, “Goodnight Everything” evolves, with drums and a repetitive guitar riff working hand in hand to spark interest. The bassoon like sounds that resided in the songs introduction, become even more predominant during the rockier moments of the song, and just as quickly as it began, it’s over.

Too Much, Too Much

Closing track, “Too Much, Too Much,” is perhaps the most abstract moment of Sisterworld. While conventionally it subscribes to the album’s established criteria of employing distorted and delayed guitars, in association with classical instrumentation (in this case, the bassoon returns), it stands out as sounding the most optimistic, which can most likely be attributed to “Too Much, Too Much” residing within a major key. Although it is void of any predominant percussion, with only minor clicks and clacks hiding in the songs background, it’s the underlying synth line and vocals that truly make this song something special. It’s a delightful way to conclude, what is in essence, quite an astonishing experience.

Sisterworld is due out sometime in early 2010 via Mute.

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