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“Sowing the Seeds of Murder with Our Ol’ Buddy Angus Andrew”

Nothing in this world is describable. How do I know? Because in the time it takes for you to execute the manifest act of describing something, whether your means are written or verbal, the world around you has continued to morph and change, even if only by modicum, minutia.

People do really great things. I’ve seen it. It’s taking in stray animals. It’s pulling off a great stand-up routine. It’s crafting a beer so good you forget about the CONCEPT of problems.

People commit murders. I’ve seen it. I’m from South Bend, Indiana. When people say that it’s brave to be a high school teacher I feel like killing them. I’ll admit it.

So with Angus Andrew, in particular, the burly monotone-wielding “singer” in Liars (one of my favorite bands), he’s originally Australian (which is a handicap already to start with, sort of like being from Kansas City) [1], formed a band in LA and then moved to New York to get the wheels rolling on Liars. Somehow, too, Germany is also even involved in this equation. I mean… that is impressive in and of itself. That is the earmark of considerable tenacity as a person, to search the world over like that for a worthy geographical platform for your art and expressions.

Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s kind of a troubling amount of complete bullsh** going on these days, whether it’s Rob Sheffield who won’t shut up about Britney Spears and the Grammys, LIVE’s Ed Kowalczyk not meaning what he says in praising Counting Crows and you can tell as clear as deep sea fish (maybe he actually heard “Big Yellow Tax” or something), and then this Drowned in Sound review of Titles with the Word Fountain (the first review that pops up on a Google search) going through its entire thing, not quoting any of the lyrics and not once commenting on the fact that the first two songs are so uh, heartwarming as to be called “Face in Ski Mask Bodies to the Wind” and “Murdrum.” Not only are these songs about murder but Andrew just SOUNDS like he’s about to kill someone on them, too, like Art Alexakis in the second verse of “Like a California King.” Murder is a theme of the new Liars album in a way which transcends music and it could be argued that Titles with the Word Fountain is at least as much a murderous document as a musical document.

Other Liars songs like “It Fit When I Was a Kid” depict things in the lyrics like breaking somebody’s back glass patio door after sneaking over their fence. In all my examinations of Liars criticism, though, all I ever find seem to be objective accounts of what the music is — its unorthodox use of drums as melodic instruments, other themes the lyrics might hold. This aloofness to the menacing aspects of Liars is maybe be a little more excusable in the case of their first album They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, as that material actually existed within the STYLE of punk rock; their m.o. had yet to reduce down to this maniacally ominous state of meditative ill will which we’ve seen surface on basically everything after that first LP.

Well, I mean, how do you help somebody who wants to kill someone? Maybe calling them out or making fun of them for it is just as bad as ignoring the problem (and I do hold that it’s a problem since I can’t even listen to all of Titles with the Word Fountain without becoming completely weirded out, by everything about it including that starkly bizarre cover photo). Anyway, I guess it stands to reason in a sense that this unbelievably vapid and professional disposition these critics take to the burgeoning Liars albums can be equated pretty safely with something like a “machine,” in terms of that word being used to describe the immovable ways of the world wherein the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, or the rich shirk the hazard of misdeed culpability, if you will. That is, per our basic sociological infrastructure, we’re encouraged to extol or idolize celebrities, whether they’re actors or news anchors. And it’s celebrities who have things to say: it’s celebrities we listen to. Maybe, for this reason, people who aren’t celebrities are discouraged from saying things authoritatively or saying things with a sort of finality or emphasis. They’re discouraged from being simple. Simplicity is a hazard. But this handling of Titles with the Word Mountain and not commenting on its murderousness is completely absurd — it’s like making conversation about a window treatment when there’s a komodo dragon dangling above the window. I don’t, either, think it’s a case of just wanting to be really REPRESENTATIVE of the general condition, in addition to one’s personal condition, the way Morrissey and to an extent Eminem too may have dabbled in, each of those other individuals then having also dwelt in an area which could be classified as very urban, like Angus Andrew. And here’s where I’m going to end this little expedition, instead of going on a rant about how weird Kansas City is, which part of me sort of wanted to do half an hour ago.

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[1] If you don’t believe me then simply imbibe the story of Puddle of Mudd and singer Wes Scantlin.

 

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