Regardless of whether Liars have broken ground connecting the amateur groping of punk rock to the exotic modalities of modern (12-tone) classical and Eastern European music, Sisterworld feels utterly wrenched with bourgeois boredom. That's kind of our culture, though, isn't it?
For all that Liars have striven to create an original album, the songs suggest not so much inspiration and composition as hours of laborious mixing and midnight consultations with Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies. ("I Still Can See an Outside World" answers Eno's suggestion for "simple subtraction"; "Scissor" asks you to "imagine the music as a set of disconnected events.") In other words, they have a lot of time on their hands.
Liars work incredibly well in the studio, eking out murky, industrial soundscapes with the ingenuity of Foley artists. Their arrangements deftly juxtapose distorted rock atmospherics with outside elements, such as classical strings — yet their end product is alienating. Sisterworld's melodies avoid resolution and even major scales to the point of conspicuousness. Is this art? Is this a pose? Does it matter? Angus Andrew's fatigued, stoned vocals never leave the forefront and never stop trying to convince you he's sexy in a detached sort of way. Add up all the contemporary artiness and fake sexiness and it's the perfect record for 2010. No fun.