JESUS LIZARD - Liar (Weston/Albini remaster) LP
From the first few seconds, in which "Boilermaker" leaps out of the speakers like a crank-addled mugger armed with a tire iron, Liar captures the Jesus Lizard in gloriously manic and muscular form, and if it sounds a bit less grimy and psychotic than Goat, the album that preceded it, this is still the musical equivalent of a ranting lunatic you would never dream of sitting next to on the subway. While said lunatic would probably be best personified by vocalist David Yow, whose litany of gasps, bellows, and shrieks is freakishly eloquent even when you can't figure out what he's saying, the drill-press guitar of Duane Denison and the constant rhythmic pummel of David Sims and Mac McNeilly conjure up a remarkably convincing re-creation of the noises in his head, and the band's taut, rapid-fire precision and striking command of dynamics (no matter that the silences appeared in split-second bursts) generate a groove that manages to be sensuous and uncomfortable at the same time. And while the crashing force of cuts like "Gladiator" and "The Art of Self-Defense" is what folks commonly associate with the Jesus Lizard, the spaghetti Western nightmare of "Zachariah" shows they can slow down without losing any of their impact in the process. Liar isn't quite the wildest or weirdest album the Jesus Lizard ever made, but it may well be the strongest, and perhaps the best. -Mark Deming
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