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Liars “The Overachievers” (Influenza)

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Now a decade into their existence, Brooklyn, New York’s Liars released their fifth studio album this past March titled Sisterworld (Mute). And much like its predecessors, 2007′s eponymous album or 2006′s breakout Drum’s Not Dead, it was quickly greeted with acclaim on all fronts. Reviews have only been mixed in that there has been no single way to go about explaining the record; whether it be called “utterly wrenched with bourgeois boredom” (The Phoenix), “saturated in daylight” (Drowned in Sound), “relentlessly tense” (Pitchfork), or one of the year’s “nastiest, cleverest and strangest albums” (NME), one thing seemingly can be agreed upon: It is another step forward in the already mesmerizing evolution of the band. With this installment of Influenza, vocalist and guitarist Angus Andrew recalls a moment of self-realization he had while living in L.A. and a feeling of accountability which helped influence what would become Sisterworld‘s lead single, “The Overachievers.”

I was living in an abandoned recording studio, south of Wilshire near the Rampart district in LA. The area was mostly commercial with a steady stream of homelessness and crime. I spent a lot of time just walking around. I wanted to view the city from its underside and develop a voice for that perspective. What I experienced was eye-opening and massively disturbing, but also exactly what I was looking for.

Inevitably though, there’s a point you reach as a voyeur when you’re forced to realize it’s no longer possible to separate yourself from the subject matter. You start to question the role in what you’re witnessing as heavy emotions of frustration and guilt come into play. For me this is when things start to get real interesting. The work evolves and veers from an analytical “fly on the wall” approach to something way more personal.

“The Overachievers” came about during this time. It represents an acknowledgment of culpability. A point where my focus turned to the question of inaction—both of myself and everyone else—amidst the abundance of homelessness and crime. Initially I wasn’t having it. My interest didn’t lie in accusation, but eventually I came to understand; if I was going to point the finger at anyone, I may as well start with myself.

Liars “The Overachievers” Lyrics:

I bought a house with you/We settled down with cats/There wasn’t much to do so we just sat and watched the TV and smoked weed—We drove a bio-car ’cause we all love the earth/It didn’t get us far and always sounded like a walrus with ulcers—L.A.! L.A.!—We snuffed out Malibu so we could see the stars/And when the sun fell off we drove back slowly listening to Japanther/The Cactus!—L.A.! L.A.!—Then once we had enough we gave up on our jobs/And bought back all our time/To spend it walking in the forest/The Forest—L.A.! L.A.! L.A.! L.A.! L.A.! L.A.! L.A.! L.A.!—I bought a house with you/We settled down with cats/There wasn’t much to do so we just sat and watched the TV