If you think you know Bloomington band You’re A Liar, think again, because the new self-titled album presents the band with an energy like nothing you’ve heard from it in the past. The band’s first full-length album, You’re A Liar, is louder, more intense, and more complex than ever. With help from two new members, the band has been refocused and revitalized and this album really shows how much You’re A Liar has grown.
You’re A Liar has been playing in Bloomington for almost as long as I’ve been here, and I can always remember one thing about the band’s live show: energy. Founding members Eric Day (bass) and Charlie Thomas (guitar) could play for hours on end and not even be tired. Their sound was LOUD (and I mean LOUD) and it just seemed like they would just go straight from one song to the next without ever losing momentum or excitement. They were good at what they did, and I was satisfied with what I heard. But moving into the last year, the addition of Andy Beargie (drums) and Gabriel Garber (guitar) opened a world of new possibilities to the band’s overall sound and creativity.
You’re A Liar has really found its foothold as a quartet. I can’t ever remember feeling this refreshed by their sound. And that isn’t to say that what they were doing before was uninspiring, but now their sound is just so much more complete. I can hear all of the parts of each instrument more clearly in the recordings. And no part sounds more dominant than the other, all four parts really seem to gel together well. This comes in part from having an extra guitarist, canceling out the need for excessive layering of guitar parts. It’s also due to the fact that the band really took their time to record this album. Bassist Eric Day is also a sound engineer in his everyday life and this was the first You’re A Liar album to be recorded at his new venture, Sleepwalk Recording. The patience and hard work has clearly paid off, as this band is sounding better recorded than ever before.
This album places the band at a level that cannot compete with its former self. Right from the start, the music is in your face. The first track, “Chew-E“, is chaotic and fast with changing grooves and tempos nearly every 30 seconds. It’s a rapid attack of a song, but is perfect for getting you ready for the wild ride that this album brings. The next three songs are packaged as “Fleas” I, II, and III, which display some great bass grooves and experimental tracks that allow each member to add a little spice to the mix when needed and even show off some solos. However, what I also like about these tracks is their ability to show off how well this band works in unison. There are moments when the band is just moving together, guitars, bass, and drums, and it’s like a musical force has been set upon the listener. All you can do is listen and marvel at how well these musicians play together and complement each others’ strengths.
Sitting in the middle of the album is “Spring Break” which displays some really beautiful complexities in its guitar parts, but don’t get too stuck on the guitars or you may miss how amazingly the drums not only match their pace, but never seem to become overbearing. Even as the song switches into a more lounge-style bass groove, the drums settle into a clean jazzy style that keeps the energy alive even as things are slowing down.
“Chops” follows next with much more intensity. Just try to guess the time signature of it, I feel like it changes every 10 seconds. This song really shows the band’s never-ending endurance. Even though the track clocks in at 2:16, it sounds like a marathon as the tempo and intensity is constantly changing, but the energy only continues to increase.
My favorite song on the album would have to be “Charlie Bugs“. This song demonstrates the band’s ability to be dynamic. It’s a song that changes between being loud to soft, featuring all instruments to only one, and from simple melody to complex wall of sound so fast that before you can even process it all, the song is over. Every time I listen to it, I find myself playing it over again, as if I’d missed something. There also happens to be an entertaining hint of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” that shows it’s face twice.
“ Stereodactyl” is 45 seconds long and would make a great song for a video game involving fighting, an extreme sport, or both. Oh, and when they play this live and it sounds like the song is over, don’t clap — you still have 25 seconds left to go.
The album closes with “The Thing of It Is“, which is another wall of sound track, where the band shines in unison for the most part, and then breaks into groove section where the instruments break up into several small phrases before coming together again for a dramatic, cliffhanger finish. I’m actually still waiting for the real last note to hit.
Overall, it’s still the You’re A Liar sound that you know and love, but it’s like the band went away to summer camp and came back with a new perspective. They have come back to us like an energy machine, leaving nothing on the drawing board. They experiment with new styles, a wider range of sound and interpretation, and execute with impressive perfection. This album is full of velocity, but never feels out of control. Instead you hear a carefully constructed technical journey, and a band that isn’t afraid to explore and recreate the boundaries of its sound.
The CD Release event is this Saturday at 902’s (430 E Kirkwood Ave.) in Bloomington, so if you are in the area, definitely check out the show. As much energy as this album captures, I am still a firm believer that there is nothing that can get you pumped like a live show. Plus, Eric Day always looks super adorable bouncing around the stage with his bass. Local bands Racebannon and Big Quit will be playing as well. Doors open at 9 pm.