The Liars | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Liars are in large part responsible for the continuing proliferation of funky postpunk and no wave in Brooklyn, but they're not doing much to capitalize on the interest they helped generate. The group's second album, They Were Wrong So We Drowned (Mute), dispenses with many of the elements that made them a minor phenomenon--the scratchy, fractured funk riffs, the disco throb, the explosive dynamics--and the original rhythm section has been replaced by drummer Julian Gross. It's a bleary-eyed concept piece that loosely draws on legends surrounding the pagan tradition of Walpurgisnacht, or May Day eve. Front man Angus Andrew chants rather than sings, channeling the voices of frightened citizens, defiant witches, and victims of evil to construct a series of vignettes that are clearly intended as harrowing even if they don't always make sense. This is what they call difficult music--splintered grooves, pounding tribal drumbeats, wheezing and pulsing electronics, and heavily treated guitar noise combine for the sake of mood more than songs. Sometimes it recalls the intense noise-and-groove experiments of This Heat, but the Liars deny the listener any sort of resolution or relief. It's impressive, but it ain't much fun. Young People and Goldfish open. All ages. Saturday, March 20, 8:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Danielle Levitt.

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