Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Young Liar – EP2

I’ve been listening to, and reviewing, a lot of instrumental music recently, some of which has been good, but some has been a chore to listen to. The music of Newcastle five-piece Young Liar falls, thankfully, into the category of the former with their powerful new release, the four-track EP2. The band hail from the noisier end of the post-rock spectrum, relying on riffing and rhythm ahead of slower ambient passages, more Explosions In The Sky territory than Sigur Ros.
The thing with post-rock and instrumental music is that you’ve gotta earn the right to make long and winding passages of music: post-rock OGs Mogwai, EITS and Sigur Ros have been around long enough that we can indulge their passion for it, but when you’re new to the scene (and also in an internet age where everything’s disposable or yesterday’s news in about five minutes), the key would seem to be keep it brief, and keep it interesting. And that’s what Young Liar have done.
So, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this record as it steps up the pace a little from their first EP by adding a bit of groove and, incredibly, danceability. Opening track ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Crazy’ keeps it relatively simple with its floaty start giving way to layers of piledriving guitars – nothing too thrilling or adventurous, but enjoyable all the same, before ‘Sponsored Silence’ introduces jazz-flecked drums and fuzz bass to the equation, creating a jerky and twitchy opening for the guitars to sail into and wash in tides of noise.
Most out-of-the-box is the marvellously titled ‘It’s Your IQ That’s In Danger’. A glitchy Foals-style electronic wonder that’s ripe for a remix, it explodes out of the speakers with punk-funk style and ends with a lovely chiming duet between keys and guitar. It’s so good it deserves a single release of its own, never mind being hidden away on an EP. Slowly brooding final track ‘Don’t Tell Marlow’ finds Young Liar back in more familiar territory, but is a fiery and exhilarating end to proceedings.
With many bands of a similar ilk appearing on the scene, burning briefly bright and then disappearing without trace over the past few years, the question is that can these Geordie lads avoid a similar fate? Okay, it’s rarely original, and it remains to be seen if Young Liar can sustain any sort of form over a full-length, but EP2 does provide its fair share of thrills and spills. Whether that’s enough to keep going, we’ll just have to wait and see.