Thursday, February 13, 2014

REVIEW: Water Liars - Water Liars

Mississippi tortured hard folk duo Water Liars are back with a third album fairly quick on the heels of last year's Wyoming. "Hard folk" is about the best I could come up with to try to encapsulate the contrasts within their music. The lyrics are provocative and arresting... opening track "Cannibals" draws an analogy: "When you taste the flesh and sweat of the one that you love / Do you feel like a cannibal?" To a slightly lesser extent than the sad, sad Wyoming, this album explores the theme of what we are willing, able and sometimes driven to do to one another, and definitely deliver more questions than answers.

Here's "I Want Blood", a lush, full country rock number with what I think is his best vocal to date:

It's definitely Southern music. In places it's languid and slow, and lead singer Justin Kinkel-Schuster definitely delivers the vocals with a drawl, but in other places it's urgent and as hard as guitar rock gets. "Swannanoa" is pretty much straight-ahead country music, with piano and vocals up front, and "Let it Breathe" is a pretty finger-picked folk song. But they plug in on tracks like "Tolling Bells", and often really turn up the guitar feedback.

Here's the song "Ray Charles' Dream" - a rollicking, upbeat track with haunting vocals over a base of growling guitars:

They're highly recommended for fans of literate guitar rock artists like Centro-Matic and My Morning Jacket... If you want to learn more about them (or read what a better writer than me thinks of their music), check out William Boyle's excellent bio on their website. The album is out now (released Feb. 4) on Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess Records.

Water Liars website
Water Liars at Big Legal Mess Records

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