Liars: Mess

Liars: Mess

(Mute, 3/25/14)

"Mess on a Mission"

From the opening growled demands of a disturbed sex robot on “Mask Maker,” it’s obvious that Mess is, once again, if not a reinvention then a mood swing for Liars. This is a band in constant motion, one that has evolved steadily from its early dance-punk roots into something that just barely shares the DNA of that early 2000s group.

There is sometimes a sense on Mess that vocals are a trick that’s being played on your inner ear. “Can’t Hear Well” features singer Angus Andrew wailing through an artificial case of tinnitus and wavering synths, while the rushing rhythms of “Darkslide” tease vocals that are never delivered. But when the music is this good, potential complaints are minimized. Beats are sharp and bright on tracks like “I’m No Gold” and “Pro Anti-Anti,” but there’s still something dark hiding just beneath neon.

Liars is having fun, and it’s a macabre sort; this is warning as dance music, a vampire’s rave.