The Brooklyn-based threesome Liars is hard to peg when it comes to classifying, or relaying their catalogue of music. After moving between New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Berlin, finally settling down in New York City, it is apparent their music morphs alongside them like a nomadic passenger. Liars’ seventh studio album, Mess, is glam-electronic at its finest, boasting erotic, dark synths, and deadpan vocals that make me wonder whether these guys are night walkers (see: Game Of Thrones). If the title of the album doesn’t already give off a strong hint of the chaotic, musical swirl that follows, the album art might, looking like something out of artist Jim Drain’s anthropomorphic, woven sculpture collection.
“Mask Maker” begins with lyrics sung through a vocal changer that say “smell my socks/ eat my face off/ take my face off/ I like your face” that remind me of what a crazed man or woman on bath salts, or PCP, would say. The BPM is paced at an intense start, with sharp glitches of synth in-between, until there is a deep switch of elongated, antagonizing synths and mumbled vocals. Throughout Mess, Liars lack clarification, and perhaps that’s the point of it all–to create a work that makes you feel as disheveled as the music. “Mess On a Mission” is enigmatic and redundant, creating a feeling of being strung out for days. Through tossed computer glitches singer Angus Andrew screams in his high-pitched falsetto “mess on a mission” and then transfers a few octaves to drill “facts are facts and fiction’s fiction” into our heads, as if the average listener didn’t already grasp that concept in the second grade.
Balancing the more chaotic and aggressive songs on Mess are “Boyzone,” “I’m No Gold,” and “Dress Walker.” Using a sexy reversed drum with a trebled siren and growling hi-hat, “Boyzone” brings a fetishistic quality to the music. Vocally, “boy zone” is repeated in monotone. “I’m No Gold” introduces discordant bells that swirl into a heavy-drop kick of synth. The actual composition is intriguing and feels like organized chaos. “Dress Walker” still follows the vein of mysterious vocals, but the low purr of the bass and subtle electronic whine make this song the most put-together of them all.