Change can be good. Noise rockers The Liars, having recently relocated from NYC to Berlin, have released their least referential and most fully realized album to date. Both experimental and minimalist in scope, Drum’s Not Dead is a bewitching mood piece. Although the album’s blurry, falsetto vocals and clanging, droning percussion create a confrontational industrial soundscape, Drum’s Not Dead sounds surprisingly subdued. With unconventional, tribal percussion staunchly in the forefront, the album rekindles the spirit of early, Bad Moon Rising-era Sonic Youth or the white-noise aesthetic of Berlin’s Einstürzende Neubauten. Although Drum’s Not Dead is a concept album, the affected weirdness and nearly unintelligible storytelling alienate the casual listener. But once you forget the muddled concept, the shimmering, textured interplay of instruments come into sharp focus. With an extensive DVD to boot, Drum’s Not Dead represents displacement from the hipster-ridden NYC scene and into even more avant-garde territory.
Archived article by Natasha Pickowicz