Liars – Atheists, Reconsider EP

Atheists, Reconsider EP

Two of Brooklyn’s finest, the ultra-hyped Liars and the under-hyped Oneida, come together to produce this six-song, extended-playing compact disc known forevermore as Atheists, Reconsider. Split evenly down the middle, three tracks by each, with both bands covering one song by the other, Atheists, Reconsider sufficiently fulfills this fiscal quarter’s mandatory allowance of new Oneida material and also helps ease the Liars down a similar path of prolificacy.
The record begins with Liars’ cover of “Rose and Licorice,” a deep cut from Oneida’s 2001 full-length Anthem of the Moon. Liars rock it up a bit, effectively replacing some of the claustrophobia of the original with a more delirious atmosphere. Amazingly, the cover sounds like Oneida without sounding too much like the Oneida song it’s based on. Oneida’s brief spazz-rocker “Privilege” follows, and ‘tho it’s a damn good little noise-rock tune, it doesn’t come close to touching the outright brilliance of their last couple of full-lengths. Liars follow with another slab of their rhythmic, abstract funk-noise-punk; “All in All a Careful Party” downplays the funk in favor of the noise and abstractness, building a song out of random and repetitive bass and/or keyboards, handclaps, drum machine, vocals, and maybe a guitar or something too. Good, yes, odd, yesser, but basically a total B-side all the way, ie not good enough for their own fully-lengthed release, no sir.
The Oneida are next up with “Fantastic Morgue,” the second Oneida original, and the second good-but-not-great, slightly subpar Oneida occurrence. It can rock and it might move your body, but it won’t even so much as touch your soul, even less your spinal fluid, you know? It’s a good song – think “Mr. Clean,” or imagine if they added a new song to 2000’s awesome Come On Everybody, Let’s Rock album that was good and similar-to-but-worse-than every other song on the record, and you might be able to imagine what “Fantastic Morgue” is like. Worthy, but not amazingly dick-destroying. But so that leads directly into Oneida’s cover of Liars’ “Every Day is a Child With Teeth” (original of which can be found on Liar’s Fins to Make Us More Fishlike EP), which likewise may not destroy your dick, but it certainly gnaws it a good halfway or so off; it’s a retarded, calculated, ground-rumbling travesty that culminates in an invasive subneural tea-party that comes close to cleaving the mind. Superior to the original, and almost good enough to be on Oneida’s almost incomparable Each One Teach One LP, “Every Day is a Child With Teeth” is as good of a pompous, overblown, schizo-minimalist two-note dirge as I’m ever likely to encounter.
Final song, sixth of six, Liars’ “Dorothy Taps the Toe of the Tinman” toes the line of their “This Dust Makes That Mud,” ie unlistenable endurance test that becomes listenable the more you listen to it. It’s just fucking noise, in that it makes no musical sense in the least, but that doesn’t matter, on account of it still being highly listenable in definance (and defiance) of its inherent unlistenability. Gusts of windwails that rise and fall, incessant pot/pan percussion (in the manner of a gradeschool Skeleton Key), incomprehensible vocal samples manipulated and overtracked past the realm of earthly countenance, and just the very vaguest outline of a bassline provided by ambient atmospherics. A listen, to be sure, but a listen of what / wherefore, who the fuck can say?
So final tally, there are six songs, the best of which are both covers, and then two decent Oneida tunes and a coupla experimentaller Liars thingies that hardly ever evince any sort of Gang of Four influence. Being as how these are the first Oneida recordings to surface post-Papa Crazee (their long departed, long-haired, forked beard, psuedo-leader medicine man, crazy fucking Yankee hillbilly shaman, and founder/muse/spiritual foundation), and being as how they are the least mind-rotting of Oneida’s recordings to surface since late 2000 or so, one could easily speculate that perhaps ol’ PCRZ’s presence was far more integral than initially let on. But shote, the big O’s Liars cover is fan-friggity-tastic, and their live show sans-Crazee is still top-notch, so perhaps speculation of their decreased vitality is nonsensical piffle at this point. Overall Liars outweird the cookery-crafting utopians, and serve up the slightly superior half of this brief musical cribbage match.