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Track Review: Liars "Sailing to Byzantium"

Early reviews of Liars' self-titled fourth album are likely to have some variation on the headline, "Experimentalists retreat to guitar rock." While there are flavors of Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz pop and even some metal thrash in the album's mix, it's a bit simplistic to put such a restrictive pin in such a relentlessly restless band. There are plenty of ways to settle down, you know.
The W. B. Yeats-referencing "Sailing to Byzantium" is surprising both for its laid-back trip-hop tempo and what appears to be a reversal of Liars' earlier "not too political . . ." mantra. Where Yeats's poem of the same name dealt with the indignity of growing old, this song sets its sites on our aging superpower and its apathetic populace. As Angus Andrew coos in his floating Drum's Not Dead falsetto, "It's time we wake these dumb fucks up." Slow motion flow and a ghostly keyboard loop aren't the most aggressive clarion call, but it might be just pretty enough for subliminal convincing. Jagged percussion and unconventional structures have obscured what this song makes plain; melody has been the band's secret weapon all along.
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Track Review

This song is incredible.r.0

Dave Park

People keep flirting with a trip hop revival, but no one is fully committing. TVOTR's "I Was a Lover" is another example...

Jeff K

maybe 2008 will see a return of it?

Dave Park

how can you revive a genre that never had a pulse to begin with. sorry - always found "trip-hop" to be trite-hop. there were maybe 4 good albums (massive attack etc) but, let's face it, anyone with a bag of weed and a stolen mpc2000 could bang out a trip hop 12. the liars disc on the other-hand is awesome. they are like pavement in that they can't make a bad album. they're true artists who just want to bring new shit and they will probably be revered in 20 years as the best band of this decade. i certainly think so.


Well, I agree and disagree. I'm right with you on the Liars, definitely will only grow in esteem. On trip hop, sure it was spotty as hell, but those four records were great, and a template that could definitely improve upon. I mean, if you're not gonna outstrip the original, why revisit it in the first place. I still think there's a kernal of excellence in the genre, even though when you get into the Morcheebas of the world, there's a huge drop off. but, c'mon, Dummy, Maxinquaye, ...Endtroducing, Blue Lines, that stuff holds up. Do you agree that this track is in fact a trip hop track? I think it clearly is, and a good one...

Jeff K

wow. i've never really warmed up to liars but this really is r.0.

Mike Krolak

Hi Jeff,I guess I hadn't considered it a trip-hop joint as you point out. I wouldn't put it past them though if that's what they intended (they're obviously an eclectic bunch of fellows). But I think the vocal lacks the oft-contrived fragile posturing you find in many trip hop songs. I guess it seems more a genuinely felt vocal than a calculated or clever attempt at a "Liars hiphop song".Then again, the title of the album's closer might give your observation more credence than I'm allowing ; )


[...] - Sailing to Byzantium PUBBLICIT&Agrave; // PUBBLICIT&Agrave; postato da maxreali il luned&igrave; 25 giugno 2007 [...]

Liars - Sailing to Byzantium

Liars have had a few tracks with a definite trip hop vibe (b-side going to dubbo in a panda and one of the drums not dead tracks). i so very much want to hear their new album.


[...] a Prefix exclusive of a preview clip for &#8220;Sailing to Byzantium&#8221; off the upcoming Liars album on Mute. For clips to the other songs check out [...]

&raquo; Liars &#8220;Sailing to Byzantium&#8221; -

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