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Adventurous trio takes small step back from the edge

Liars’ 2006 release, Drum’s Not Dead, was an inscrutable mini-masterpiece. Densely mysterious in a way that compelled exploration rather than confusion, the album was a bracing, often exciting listen. It seems, though, that with its new self-titled disc, the unpredictable trio has decided to take a small step from the shadows into the light. Murky, mysterious tracks like “Leather Prowler” and “Pure Unevil” play out like musical Escher prints, the overlapping rhythms and keyboard washes constantly confounding expectations. But Liars features a healthy handful of tracks that—saints alive!—sound like honest-to-goodness songs. Aussie frontman Angus Andrew’s falsetto enlivens the robo-funky “Houseclouds,” and “Cycle Time” sports a strangely catchy clattering guitar riff. Liars might not be as singular as the band’s past albums, but even a relatively normal outing from these guys is still a puzzle that takes time to solve. Rest assured, it’s time well spent.