I am often asked to describe a band to friends who aren’t as well-versed in the indie music scene as I am. When I first caught wind of Water Liars, I couldn’t stop talking about them. My description was something along the line of “a more soulful Black Keys. The songs tend to be somewhat melancholy as well.” I don’t know what I mean about half the shit I say but I said that a lot.
While the Keys pick you up on a bluesy rocking ride, leaving you physically exhausted. Water Liars, however, gets into your being, finding its way into the pit of your stomach. Justin Kinkel-Schuster’s mournful voice dredges up emotions you didn’t know you had inside you. Its an uncanny ability that he shares with the late Jason Molina, and when drummer Andrew Bryant joins in on harmonies, it is a thing of pure beauty
Water Liars tunes can either bulldoze their way in with an intro that starts off in 5th gear before pulling back into 2nd.
Then there are tunes that barely creep out of first. Either way, the lyrics will be amongst the best you hear. On Swannanoa, a gut-wrenching track that I can’t stop listening to; the lyrics are so vivid that you can feel the pain.
I woke up in Houston
In somebody’s kitchen
The ceiling was sweating
And I was afloat
On a dirty brown river
of heroin shivers
waiting on someone
to send me a boat
There is a great line in their bio about their philiosophy in making music. “A punk aesthetic – a desire not to overdo songs until they’re shiny with emptiness – is the band’s defining feature,” I’ve been looking for a concise statement to describe why I love the certain types of music I do. I couldn’t have said it any better.