Photograph by Joe Dilworth

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Even by the accelerated standards of NYC's rock scene, the speed and precision of Liars' rapid ascent is extraordinary. The rock-cum-dance group formed at the end of 2000. "From there," says Australian vocalist Angus Andrew, snapping his fingers, "things happened pretty quickly."

No kidding. Liars' first show was in January 2001, just two months after Andrew and guitarist Aaron Hemphill, friends from art school in L.A. who'd reconnected here, met two recently relocated Nebraskans, Pat Noecker and Ron Albertson (who play bass and drums, respectively). The group recorded its debut, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, in two summer days, and by the time it was released, in October, the band had completed three months of touring the U.S.

Judging by the astonished audience reactions at the band's live shows, the road-testing paid off. Noecker, 30, and Albertson, 40, are a monster rhythm section in the tradition of bands such as the Jesus Lizard, but they're also agile enough to fuel a dance groove. Hemphill, 24, strafes the music with shards of melodic guitar noise, while 6'6" Andrew, 25, is the undeniable focal point, barking lyrics and dancing wildly. "People have written that I seem angry onstage," he says in a relaxed Aussie drawl. "But it's more to do with getting caught up in the music."

Among those caught up was Blast First/Mute Records, which signed Liars to a worldwide deal in December. Despite the success the group has found, their intention was to avoid the drudgery of regular jobs. "Between making music every day or going to work," says Hemphill, "it's an easy choice."—Mike Wolf

Liars play the Knitting Factory June 15, 2002. They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top will be reissued by Blast First/Mute August 19.

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