Liars

Drum's Not Dead tells a story about the two poles of creativity: Drum (the confidence to create) and Mt. Heart Attack (the self-doubt that plagues our work). The album pits muddy synths and Angus Andrews' vocals — sometimes gruntlike and declamatory, but more often high and witchy — against stabbing noises and drum parts that slap you fresh in the face with every measure. As the worried half wrestles with its aggressive side, Liars wring every variation out of the theme, taking us from feedback and turmoil to primitively gorgeous interludes: Is this a battle, a love story, or both? This high-concept record is as viscerally pleasing as the trio's last two LPs, but it ends with a shocker: “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack,” in which the tension breaks, the two sides join forces, and Andrews goes all Garden State-wistful on us. But unlike the Shins, he earned it.

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