Drum's Not Dead (CD + DVD)
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Drums Not Dead
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DRUM'S NOT DEAD was partly inspired by the LIARS' relocation to Berlin from NYC after their 2004 album They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. From clanging guitars, martial beats, dense drones and pulverizing rhythms to high dreamy harmonies, off-kilter guitar lines and soothing samples of waves lapping, this is LIARS' finest, fullest and most unexpected album to date. Shredding all past reference points, DRUM'S NOT DEAD sees LIARS taking another seismic step forward, switching continents, seizing new musical territory and expanding their audio-visual ambitions. DRUM'S NOT DEAD comes with its own cinematic sister project - a DVD, with 3 film versions of the album, directed by band members Angus Andrew, Julian Gross & filmmaker Markus Wambsganss. Each film is comprised of videos for every track on the album: 36 videos total. From backstage travelogues to surreal animation and mini sci-fi epics, Liars document the process of recording, touring, then visually reinventing each track. 2 disc package - 1 CD / 1 DVD.
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Top Customer Reviews
The new album, "Drum's Not Dead," is another sharp left turn into uncharted territory. The move to Germany seems to have been on purpose; the spirit of Krautrock bands like Can and Faust is all over this album. On the first listen it seems experimental and willfully "difficult," but repeated listens will focus things a bit. Overall it's a lot quieter than previous efforts--there are moments that recall Sigur Ros and post-"Kid A" Radiohead. Not leaving New York totally behind, other possible reference points could be Black Dice, Animal Collective and of course Sonic Youth, so when I say "quieter," I don't necessarily mean "soft." Many songs feature Japanese Taiko-style drumming and atmospheric washes of guitar. Sometimes things get noisy, but nothing that'll get you evicted. Oh, yeah, and did I mention that it's another concept album? The "story," and I use the term very loosely, revolves around a pair of characters called Mt. Heart Attack and Drum, who represent the yin/yang duality of a person. The former is stress and self-doubt and the latter is creative energy and productivity, or something like that. It's actually pretty vague and the album as a whole doesn't have any kind of operatic flow (i.e. overtures and multi-song suites), instead going for a less linear, avant-garde kind of experience. Of course, with song titles like "Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack" and "Drum and the Uncomfortable Can," there's obviously something going on.
Something like a DVD that comes with the CD, which has the entire album three different times (!), each one containing videos for all the songs. Whether or not you want to watch all of it is up to you, but you can listen to the album in an optional 5.1 mix, which really made the album come alive for me. Some of the videos make creative use of animation and even claymation, some use live and in-studio footage, and one seems to be an album-length document of a snail, which confirms that whatever else you can say about Berlin, they must have mind-blowing pot there.
All in all, "Drum's Not Dead" is a firm rebuke to the naysayers who declared the band lacked direction. If anything, they seem to have dozens of directions, and ambition to match. If the album's symbology holds any water, I guess that means Drum has beat Mt. Heart Attack. While I still prefer the noise-rock of the second album, this one is weird 'n' wild enough to choke me up like Jimi Hendrix after an all-night drug binge, and that's no lie.
But immediately following the great success of this album they fired their rhythm section (who have since become the group No Things, who sound much more like that first album than either of these second two Liars albums). It was an incredible bold move, and one that made the unfaithful very wary and hateful of their second album, They Were Wrong So We Drowned.
However, with Drum's Not Dead, the Liars sound seems to be congealing (hopefully not too much, i'm quite enjoying their erratic career so far) into something that can stand on its own without the context of their previous two records. Drum's is probably more similar in aesthetic to Drowned than Monument, but it definately stands on its own, and seems to be a step forward in a relatively similar direction.
There is definitely a tribal element to their rhythms on this album, and I can see some similarities to Animal Collective in their use of tons of congos and some Black Dice like drum effects. While many of the tracks have a driving rhythm, overall its too dark to be dancable like their first, but will get your head bobbing nonetheless.
The album flows as one cohesive musical piece, each track bleeding into the next, but not to a point where it all seems like one song. Lastly, the DVD full of 3 entire low budget video versions of the whole album is an amazing bonus. The video's are very fitting to the music, and the live footage in the studio is very fun to watch with the songs. One of my absolute favorite recent albums, pick it up for sure.
I must say, I wasn't too sure after listening to it once through. However, the last song saved it. "The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack" is, in my eyes, a perfect song. It's mood and implementation just fits so well, with the sighs in the background, the subtle instruments and the unnerving yet sincere lyrics. It's not the most gripping or exciting song ever, but there's something about it that works so well.
The album as a whole work less well than this final track, but its a good release nevertheless.
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