Liars – The Apple Drop (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Liars – The Apple Drop (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 42:58 minutes | 721 MB | Genre: Alternative Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mute Records

The Apple Drop is the 10th studio album from Liars. Recorded in Australia with avant-garde jazz drummer Laurence Pike and multi-instrumentalist Cameron Deyell, mixing their raw, organic live instrumentation with Angus’s solo tinkering at the computer, resulting in an album that blurs boundaries between the archetypal band structure and experimental electronics. The album feels distinctly and recognisably Liars, yet also fresh and singular. Rich textures overlap with engulfing ambience, before giving way to eruptive blasts of noise, crackling electronics and thrashing drums.

On 2017’s TFCF and the following year’s Titles With the Word Fountain, Liars’ Angus Andrew took isolation to extremes. As the project’s solitary member, he sounded deeply alone and engulfed by himself on songs that were elliptical even by Liars’ standards. Andrew changes course once again on The Apple Drop, an album that builds on Liars’ longtime strengths and recurring themes with a notably different approach. Joined by a small handful of collaborators — former High Places member Mary Pearson Andrew, avant-garde jazz drummer Laurence Pike, and multi-instrumentalist Cameron Deyell — Andrew gives Liars’ tenth album a sweeping scope. Even when the project was a four-piece band during the They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top days, Liars rarely sounded as massive as they do on tracks like “The Start,” a gliding expanse punctuated by prickly electronics that serve as the main link to their immediately prior work. Live instrumentation gives Liars’ music a heft it hasn’t had since 2007’s self-titled album, but this time their version of rock often shares more with classic prog or art rock than with their post-punk foundations. This is particularly true of “Big Appetite,” a lumbering, psychedelic standout that provides one of many showcases for Pike’s stickwork, and of the Floyd-ian spaciness of “From What the Never Was.” Though these songs are relatively straightforward compared to the rest of Liars’ output, their commitment to artfully mangling sounds remains strong on The Apple Drop. The moments when Andrew makes audacious use of his collaborators are among the finest: “My Pulse to Ponder” comes closest to one of the project’s art-punk tantrums, but as Andrew rhymes “cut your throat” and “ransom note” with gleeful menace, the juddering tape loops and squalling brass backing him are often reminiscent of J.G. Thirlwell. Ironic ’80s talent show allusions aside, “Star Search” is a trippy tour-de-force, stretching to the end of the galaxy then returning to earth to join a post-apocalyptic gang singing along to a tinny saloon piano. On “Sekwar,” Andrew’s loping spoken word delivery flirts with rap, vocal harmonies reach for the skies, and a massive synth bass cements the cryptic but unmistakable feeling of dread and regret. Liars also make room for their meditative side with “Slow and Turn Inward,” which gives the shadowy realms of Drum’s Not Dead or Sisterworld an acoustic twist, and with the surprisingly pretty psych-pop of “King of the Crooks,” which sounds like the work of entirely different band except for the spooky electronics just beneath the surface. Most of all, Andrew and company revel in defying their audience’s expectations up until the album’s final note of music. Just when “Acid Crop” seems to provide closure with its doomy atmosphere and gnarled guitars, the “New Planets New Things” takes it away with its open-ended synth abstractions. A reinvigorated return, The Apple Drop shows that Liars can still reinvent their music and surprise listeners as they close out their second decade.
– Heather Phares

1. The Start (03:51)
2. Slow and Turn Inward (03:36)
3. Sekwar (04:34)
4. Big Appetite (05:16)
5. From What the Never Was (04:14)
6. Star Search (03:48)
7. My Pulse to Ponder (03:03)
8. Leisure War (03:26)
9. King of the Crooks (03:45)
10. Acid Crop (04:42)
11. New Planets New Undoings (02:43)