REVIEW: AMONGST LIARS – BY DESIGN (2024)

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It’s merely happenstance, rather than “By Design” of course that in releasing this album on July 4th, Amongst Liars are putting their second record out on the day we are likely getting rid of the putrid stench of Tories after 14 years. Still, nonetheless, with this band, the sense of revolution is real.

Simply put, the first track is called “Ready For This” and Amongst Liars do.  They are a world away from the classic hard rock of many of their peers, a menace, a modernity is the order of the day – yet there’s a swagger, an ambition too.

And there’s a heavier edge, this time around – perhaps natural as if you aren’t seething with rage in 2024, you’re doing it wrong, and that bursts forth on “You Are Not A Slave”. I wouldn’t want to speak for them, but I suspect they might be fine with my opening paragraph, let’s just say,

“By Design” – one of the singles they put out before the album of the same name was released – adds a different dynamic by having Felin supplying harmonies and a sonic bed with a lot more industrial stuff going on than it might have had before – but right in the middle of things, everything in this glorious (slightly) new world comes together perfectly and “The Shameful” is perhaps the best thing they’ve ever done. This is a brilliant example of what this band can do and what music can sound like in 2024. If this was an American band, they’d be being hyped to within an inch of their lives for way less.

An album of contrasts, “Mind” sounds understated by comparison, as it lurks in its shadows, and the electronic touches on “Vice” move us into somewhere different.

An album of guests – and cleverly used at that – “No Control” sees Richie Havana turn up for a track that you just know they’re playing live. A festival field somewhere is going to shake to this one.

There’s a darker feel to this album (and perhaps this band) to the good time rock n roll of the many of the new crop of UK rock, if “Alibi” hints at it, then “Say” makes it crystal clear.

A fantastic acoustic track with exquisite backing, and sees singer Ian George offering “I want to be free of this callous disease that is eating my mind”, and maybe that depression and anxiety colours the record more than anything. Certainly, if you suffer, you’ll get it, and you’ll also know that if I wish Ian catharsis with the words, then he’ll still have to find his own way through.

But it wouldn’t do for the album to end like that, it’s got too much anger, too much to say, and “Wolf Machine” is one of the highlights of the whole thing. “Don’t get me wrong I never needed you,” George screams. And that streak of independence is writ large through the whole thing.

July 4th is Independence Day, and on “By Design” you can find a band that is proudly carving out their own path. A record that means something. This is Amongst Liars speaking their truth.

Rating 9/10

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