Water Liars – Wyoming [Album Review, SxSW]

by oz on March 12, 2013

water liars

Water Liars is a sound bigger than two men, two beards, two cigarettes and a tallboy in a bag. Wyoming (released on March 5) is their second LP, but my first introduction to the duo of Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant. The two formed in Mississippi and recorded outside of Oxford with engineer, Bruce Watson, who also worked with HearYa favorite AA Bondy on When The Devil’s Loose and he was a perfect choice for the band.

The albums starts off with a few strums of an acoustic but then launches straight into a rock song fueled by a pulsating electric riff on “Sucker.” If you expected a simple alternative-country album from a couple dudes in the south, then think again. Wyoming drops into a beautiful slow jam on the next track called “Fake Heat.” The song ambles along slowly, telling the story (and I’m looking for an eloquent way to put this) of a man that is immediately shut down by a chick, but somehow takes her home, bangs her while the dog watches, gets smitten with her, comes back later to discover that she’s banging other dudes, then regrets opening his heart to her and sharing his innermost secrets. They say it better in the song. It slowly rises to crescendo with the duo harmonizing before breaking into a loud jam at the songs turning point.

“Linens” is next on the list and it’s a standout on the album, both in songwriting and melody.

What I would give to be quiet beside you
With a window open and record playing low
To feel your skin between the clean bed linens
Inside a room where sadness never goes

I found myself lost in the song when it ended, but “Backbone” jolted me with a psychedelic electric guitar solo to open, leading to slow waltz. It’s almost as if Water Liars want to snap you out of your trance in time to hear the opening line “Did I kiss my mother with these lips?” The song is about family and the character repeatedly questions if he’s ignored relationships, taken them for granted, or as he puts it, “mistaken sweet for saltiness.”

As you work through the rest of the album, you’re going to find acoustic rock at its finest. If you’re a fan of AA Bondy, Water Liars is a no-brainer. Some may characterize Wyoming as sad music, but how can warm harmonies like this be sad? Even the saddest ballads are soaked in harmonies that ebb and flow and set you adrift. Some of the lyrics explore themes of loneliness, heartbreak and regret, but the music itself is warm and open.

Unfortunately, they’ve decided not to whore themselves out at SxSW like that chick in “Fake Heat.” You can only catch them at the two shows below that we’re aware of. If we can talk them into playing in an alley, under a bridge, late night in our hotel room while we drift off to sleep, etc, we’ll be sure to tweet you. For those not following us, you can find our whereabouts at SxSW on Twitter.

Water Liars @ SxSW:

Thursday March 14 / This Is American Music Day Party @ Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar / 2pm
Friday March 15 / Rachel Ray’s Feedback Party @ Banger’s / 4:30 pm

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob March 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Great album, full of interesting tracks. Maybe better than Phantom Fire. The opening track ‘Sucker’ is not to be forgotten but I still found some of the heartrending tracks really beautiful.

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