Album Review: Sisterworld – Liars
CD, Vinyl, 2CD, On Release
By Guy Sangster Adams
That the excellent new Liars album already has an host of influential fans is borne out by the second CD in the 2CD edition of Sisterworld which features remixes and reinterpretations of each track by other artists including Thom Yorke, Alan Vega, Devendra Banhart, and Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, and packaging designed by the Grammy award nominated Brian Roettinger/Hand Held Heart which when one opens the CD case allows a ‘through the keyhole’ view into the concertina-fold outer sleeve and a glimpse into the sunshine filtered woods of Sisterworld.
Sisterworld is Liars’ parallel world, a conceptual space to which they have ascribed the criteria that it is their “own space, devoid of influence, somewhere remote from the false dreams amassed in L.A.” in which they “explore the underground support systems created to deal with loss of self to society,” by way of “the alternate spaces people create in order to maintain identity in a city like L.A.”
Sisterworld is, as the view through the concertina suggests, as dramatically and sensorily charged as being in the midst of a dense forest on a summer’s day; light when it breaks through the branches creates temporal spaces of the most magical beauty, whilst the dark corners seem darker than you could ever imagine, the shadows forever shifting and encircling, accelerating one into fright-or flight-or freeze.
In short, the fifth album from this three-piece is phenomenally engaging. It creates an highly evocative soundtrack to a personal film that plays so vividly through your mind as you listen; a film of falling through the cracks in the film capital of the world, adrift and alone in the city of angels with a paucity of guardian angels. Sisterworld is by turns transcendent and troubling, the smoothest caress can quickly become the harshest of grips, ethereal harmonies, and floating violin, viola, and cello strings are blown away by the rawest garage rock, following the hopeful will-o’-the-wisp bassoon can be fatal as you realize that the rasping vocals are framing a counterpoint picture of despair.
But the best alternative realities are made stronger by recognition and understanding of the mainstream to which they are opposed, and Sisterworld is a brilliant alternative to the mainstream, and a wonderful escape from the glass and steel forest of homogenisation.