In 2001, Liars were platform preachers for Brooklyn's combustible dance-punk revival, and hipsters and hardcore toughs alike abided by their fiery sermons. With hellfire fits, dance-floor skronk, and buoyant bass, the band's first disc, "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top," became the house organ for a town cranking up its high voltage after a crippling sonic blackout. But somewhere along the line the firecracker fizzled out, and the band tired of soundchecking at the city's discos. Lead howler Angus Andrew and guitarist Aaron Hemphill also chucked two of their core members. Some two years later, a reconfigured Liars returns with the brittle, decidedly unfunky "They Were Wrong, So We Drowned." The disc is a loose take on witches and wilderness, and it's strung together with terse shards of micro house beats, thorny clutches of distorted bass, and the occasional (angry) vocal. While "There's Always Room on the Broom" is a lukewarm cauldron of flat electro sounds, steady high hats, and floating moans, "We Fenced Other Houses With the Bones of Our Own" takes "Kid A"-era Radiohead and puts it on a Black Forest trek without a trail of breadcrumbs. A few listeners will be intrigued by the campy, Salem-for-dummies thesis and the music's overall lifeless pulse, but fans expecting to body rock it on the dance floor will feel wronged.
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