Liars were conceived in November 2000 after two friends and ex-Los Angeles art students, Aaron Hemphill and Angus Andrew, reunited in New York City. They responded to a "musicians wanted" ad posted in a local record store by two Nebraskans, Pat Noecker and Ron Albertson. The lurching Aussie Andrew took on the vocal/frontman duties while Hemphill became their guitarist and drum-machine programmer. Bassist Noecker and drummer Albertson make up the Liars rhythm section. Combined, they write music -- surprisingly formulated after the beats are laid down on the drum machine -- exhibiting fundamental elements of punk rock. Synthetic keypads, vocal modulation, and interspersed, prearranged compositions, mixed with their guitar-bass-drums equation, create angular yet melodic songs. Liars are reminiscent of U.K. groups that embraced dance music during the late '70s/early '80s (A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four, the Slits), bands that are all known for insidiously adding danceable rhythms to punk.
Only months after forming, the group played its first show. Liars' debut album, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, was released on independent Gern Blandsten Records in October 2001 and was later reissued by Blast First/Mute. The album was recorded in just two days by producer/engineer Steve Revitte, who's best known for this work with the Beastie Boys and Lee "Scratch" Perry. Late the following year, Noecker and Albertson left the band and percussionist Julian Gross was recruited as a replacement. The trio began recording the second Liars album at Andrew's house in the forests of New Jersey with friend and co-producer Dave Sitek. The results, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, which was inspired by experimental electronic music and German legends about witchcraft, arrived in early 2004.
After moving to Berlin, Liars got even more ambitious on Drum's Not Dead, a concept album revolving around creativity and doubt accompanied by short films by the band and other filmmakers. The band took a much more stripped-down approach for 2007's self-titled album, which featured more structured songwriting and a harder-edged sound. For 2010's Sisterworld, Liars returned to Los Angeles and mixed their high-concept atmospherics with blistering outbursts. The trio went in another very different direction for 2012's WIXIW (pronounced "wish you"), opting for relatively soft, textural electronics that drew comparisons to their previous tourmates Radiohead. In 2013, as requested by designer Hedi Slimane, Liars reworked a track for Yves Saint-Laurent's SS14 Paris Fashion Week show. Their seventh studio album, the industrial-tinged Mess, arrived in March 2014, taking a more cathartic approach than on their previous release. Making their first foray into film music, Liars scored the 2016 independent film 1/1 from director Jeremy Phillips. The project returned in 2017 without Hemphill, who had left the band amicably at the beginning of the year. The ensemble's eighth effort, Theme from Crying Fountain, arrived later that summer. ~ Lisa LeeKing