“When I first started working on this record, I was trying to explore the idea of being isolated,” says Angus Andrew, before falling silent for a few seconds. “Sorry,” he begins again, “I lost my train of thought there. I was looking at a kangaroo through the window.”
Angus is calling from a remote spot near Sydney, Australia – “In the super-bush, offshore,” he says. “I live in a National Park. There are no cars, it’s all rainwater and septic tanks.” Compared to the locations where previous Liars albums have been recorded – Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Berlin, bustling metropolises all – Angus’ current base of operations marks something of a left-turn. But, then, so does TFCF, (which stands for Theme From Crying Fountain), Liars’ eighth and latest full-length.
Liars have, as a matter of course, sounded radically different with each album, pursuing new concepts and occupying diverse mindsets, from the pell-mell post-punk of their 2001 debut, They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, through the No Wave Hallowe’en stories of They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, to the haunted electronica of Mess. But there’s no defining style to TFCF, no overriding concept, as it shifts between sampled elements, brash processed sounds and “real” instrumentation, passages of pointed abstraction and passages of wilful songcraft, avant gestures and genuine pop moments. There’s no mask being hid behind, and the album is their most honest and autobiographical yet – possibly because Liars is no longer a “they”, but a “he”.
“A Glasgow-based duo in thrall to minimalist Euro disco, who sing in French and are huge in the Russian underground scene, sounds like some sort of hideous hipster fantasy. But Happy Meals are very much real, and very good. Having met at high school, it was eight years before Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook started formulating ideas that would become Happy Meals—ice cold synths and smooth grooves, all built around abstract ideas rather than pre-determined structures. Since then, acclaim has come quickly—they’ve not only found themselves playing to delighted Moscow clubbers, but debut mini-album Apéro was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. Their sultry synthpop and cosmic take on Italo is sure to bring them wider recognition in 2017 though, so watch out for one of electronic music’s best-kept secrets tearing up a dance floor or a party near you soon.” – Drowned In Sound 2017