Experimental noise rock
Australian American band Liars have released an eclectic and ambient album called Titles With The Word Fountain. This album is predictably experimental, as it branches out from Liars’ previous music while retaining their eclectic musical sound.
Angus Andrew is the only continuous member of Liars, so Titles With The Word Fountain is his own creative vision. Since Titles With The Word Fountain is considered a sequel by frontman Angus Andrew, it would be careless to review it without having prior context about the album TFCF released last year. TFCF seems more post-punk and driven, as it fosters a more experimentally interesting album with direction and style similar to The Voidz’ first album Tyranny. Titles With The Word Fountain, meanwhile, lacks any sort of cohesive sound or theme. Rather, the album reaches out into the void where Halloween, church bells and horror-movie sounds seem to permanently reside. Liars apparently plucked more than a few of these eerie ambient sounds to incorporate throughout the album. This album seems inherently fixed on experimentalism, but to be completely transparent, the majority of songs sound aimless.
Liars’ top hits “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack” and “No.1 Against the Rush” are much more receptive to indie rock listeners and fans, with a more lo-fi garage appeal, a folk beat and smooth vocals. After closely listening to their hits and their last album, it is almost impossible to fully immerse yourself and enjoy Titles With The Word Fountain. It seems like it came right out of the void of failed innovation. This directionless album fails to fit the anti-mainstream punk niche and instead embodies the genre of noise rock.
Seventeen songs spanning thirty-eight minutes, the album vibrates with unsettling, almost gothic experimentalism—like a dream within a dream. Titles With The Word Fountain sounds like a possible soundtrack to a David Lynch film: questionably artistic, relatively inaccessible and rigid.
The subsequent song names and accompanying music proceed to layer the album with raw sounds and atonal musicality. “Past Future Split” almost has a James Blake vibe with echoing synth and soft murmuring vocals. “Fantail Creeps” lets in an eerie tone that remotely sounds like voices of the young punk rock duo The Garden. Rap style speech echoes through the chorus “We compromise” as a chant for a punk cult in a futuristic, perhaps apocalyptic world. Liars definitely have an edge to their musical personality, as an intrapersonal depression reflection fills their sound with the intensity of an unfettered bass drum. “Absence Blooms” perfectly asks the question “Won’t you help me understand?” which may well be what the listeners are thinking as they listen to the muddled vocals in this perplexing album. “Extracts From Seated Sequence” is similarly littered with samples of synth and scratching guitar, followed by “On Giving Up” with rhythmic keyboard and a steady, foot-tapping bassline. Each song definitely has something genuine to offer, but the album overall lacks the pristine luster that Liars’ previous music has accustomed us to.
The album name itself is rather elusive, almost as if the songs together have no correlation but experimentally flow from one to another like a fountain, words spilling in and out of chords and tune. Somewhere between a buzzing fly drawn towards a light bulb and an echoing screech from a nightmarish abyss, Liars find their sound among the noise.