Where debut album “They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top” was a brief blast of spastic energy – all supercharged funk and primal punk – and “They Were Wrong, So We Drowned” sounded like a nihilistic mass – industrial noise coupled with kraut workouts and well hidden glittering pop shards – “Drum’s Not Dead” sees the band moving into a partly brighter territory. The main focus is on rhythm rather than song – many of the songs utilize multiple drum kits – and the rolling drums meet odd chants, electronic noise and even see the odd pop chorus rise from the sonic debris, but there’s also a light shining through it all that’s been absent before.
The result, though, is mixed, to say the least. There are moments when Liars achieve a transcendent beauty with very small means, yet others where the chanting is oddly moving, like neo-hippie Devendra Banhart locked inside a room full of very persistent drummers. There are however also quite a few moments where the music is going nowhere, the multiple drum tracks piling up until they collapse, the newly found brightness getting close to twee. Those are points where I for one start wishing that Liars would crawl back into the witch-filled darkness from where they came.