by Simon Reynolds
Easily the most impressive of the recent swarm of postpunk-inspired groups, Liars have always strived to make music in that era’s adventurous spirit, rather than simply replicating the sound of vintage futurism from 25 years ago. Unfortunately that made their last two albums easier to admire than enjoy. Now the Brooklyn-exiled-to-Berlin band have dropped their (avant) guard a bit and conquered their own retrophobia with an album that risks reminding you of things from rock history you already like. So the big bashy drums and war-whoops of “Plaster Casts of Everything” recall Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” while the Gothtronica of “Houseclouds” resemble Love and Rockets remodeled for Generation Ecstasy. “Pure Unevil” even doubles the retro effect, harking back to Jesus and Mary Chain’s circa 1985’s Psychocandy ploy of submerging perfect Sixties melody in a murky crypt of dank reverb. Liars’s trademark experimental touches--the crunchily processed beats and glass-splinter textures--are still present, but they’re now put in service of songs and grooves. The result is their most straight-up entertaining record, riddled with moody hooks that lodge in your memory like brain-worms.