Liars Nature Calls
Published Aug 24, 2017Since Liars first emerged from New York City's musical renaissance of the early '00s, they have, perhaps more than any of their peers, reinvented themselves time and time again.
The eighth full-length by these audacious noise mavericks, TFCF, marks a new era as the first album without long-time members Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross, who left not long after 2014's Mess. That leaves frontman Angus Andrew as the sole Liar.
"Aaron and I are still extremely close friends but it had become increasingly apparent that our creative relationship had run its course," Andrew explains. "[But] the reality is that I have always written alone. Initially, I certainly missed the opportunity to send [Aaron] my work for his opinion, but in the end I began to find the new situation incredibly invigorating."
Andrew's first course of business for TFCF was returning to his Australian home, which he calls "literally one of the best decisions I've made in many years." Seeking a break from the city life, he chose the isolation of the bush as his home, which was only accessible by boat. "It's been a very steep learning curve for me," he says. "I wasn't previously schooled on handling my own vessel, navigating the tides or maintaining the thing, but it's been eye-opening and fascinating so far."
This remoteness was a far cry from the urban sprawl of previous homes in L.A., Berlin and New York, but it was exactly what he needed. "The structure and the movement of TFCF are influenced largely by the discordant rhythms of nature," he says. "The movement of water, the wind in the trees and the sounds of wildlife."
Perhaps the most radical consequence of this transition was his attempt to exploit the unlikeliest of Liars instruments: the acoustic guitar.
"The two previous Liars records, WIXIW and Mess, were both created almost entirely within the computer," he says. "That was fun, but I had begun to really miss the sound of a live microphone recording 'real' instruments. The acoustic guitar is the type of instrument I had avoided writing with in the past, because it lends itself less to experimentation than to actual musical skill. It's an intimidating thing!"
In true Liars fashion, however, Andrew manipulated every trace of him strumming his acoustic, explaining, "I had a lot of fun making long-winded recordings of me trying to play one, and then chopping up those recordings so it actually would sound like I could."