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Baker's Dozen

No Barrier Fun: Angus Andrew Of Liars' Favourite LPs
Luke Turner , April 16th, 2014 05:03

Liars have always been masters of mixing a boggling array of influences into a music that's unhinged, inventive and powerful. Here, Angus Andrew guides us through 13 of his favourite LPs, running the gamut from hip hop to smooth jazz and The Cure


Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships
I'd wager that the first thing that comes to a person's mind when the group OMD is mentioned is either the film Pretty In Pink, or the image of Andy McCluskey dramatically singing 'Joan Of Arc' while staring straight into the camera in a cable knit sweater and a fireplace in the background. True, it is indeed the correct band, and it is the same people who find it shocking that this group made the album Dazzle Ships. Personally I'm a fan of OMD albums from all of their phases. Be it the later slick and sax-dusted tracks like 'So In Love', to the more immediate, sparse and raw arrangement of 'Julia's Song', some people halted any further investigation through the varied catalog of OMD because of the aforementioned images.

Dazzle Ships is OMD's fourth album, a highly anticipated follow-up to a record that spawned their biggest hits, and followed a pattern of increasing acclaim and audience - Architecture And Morality. It's no real surprise that Dazzle Ships, of course, was deemed a flop at the time. Too bizarre, disjointed, and difficult to follow after the immediacy of such hits like 'Souvenir' and 'Joan Of Arc'.

To me though, this album is such a cohesive statement, portraying a bleak and lonely environment of a different sort. I liken it to moments in Brett Easton Ellis novels, rather than the more standard atmosphere of loneliness that would evoke heartbreak in the rain, or a Cameron Crowe film. This is an empty Bloomingdales parking lot in a blizzard, an uneaten plate of food at Spago's or knowing how life can be hard for a Soc when you're really just a Greaser in The Outsiders

It's such an incredible feat to feature experiments like 'Dazzle Ships, Pts. 1-3', and have them compliment and enhance an album with more straight forward tracks like 'Telegraph'. The instrumentals are crucial to the record and add depth and definition to the other songs. 

The album ends with what could be one of my favourite songs ever, 'Of All The Things We've Made'. On an album that features computerised voices, what sounds like marine radar, and a million other analog synths and sequencers, a single drum, a dissonant guitar and piano close out the album perfectly.

It's kinda strange to us that we've never been compared to OMD. I know that may sound pretentious, and we do realise it would be an enormous compliment, but the point I'm making is that Liars may have more in common with OMD than anyone might have previously believed. The group is composed of two songwriters who always handle different duties, and they show their fondness for pop structure as well as free-form experimentation. I hope that if people explore albums like Dazzle Ships it will reveal the complexity and mastery in OMD's later pop material.