Water Liars' newest, self-titled record has been on my turntable for about three straight weeks. Before hopping the train to Manhattan, the record's pairing of heavy, Southern crunch and more meditating acoustic gravitas has been instrumental in helping to slowly cut the fog of sleep, budding at a patient and enduring pace. I'm not calling it a substitute for caffeine or anything, but it's a nice way to get your morning rolling.
Offering up eleven cuts of rustic, Southern blues, the trio of Justin Kinkel-Schuster, Andrew Bryant, and GR Robinson probably won't woo any perkier types with their newest offering, but hey, that's probably not what these Mississippians aspire to. Judging by Kinkel-Schuster's brooding pen, Water Liars, like their breakthrough record Wyoming before it, spins like an honest cleansing of the soul. Only a band that has left this much tire track on the interstate could project the kind of destitute images upon their listener's imagination.
Upon big ole smacks of snare and a flesh hungry world of fuzz, "Cannibal" introduces regret with lines like, "Do you bruise every fruit that may come unto your hand? / Does it feel good? / Does it feel sweet? / To let the juice run down your chin?" "Swannanoa", a pretty piece of pain, finds the subject wandering the land, strung out on a kitchen floor in Houston, chasing an old flame in Charlotte, hoping to heal in humid Tampa, only to drop out in Swannanoa, North Carolina we presume. Even a song like "Let It Breathe" which presumes to pay ode to the moment someone sweeps out the cobwebs and throws open the shade on a dark and dreary heart feels like a dream...a fleeting flicker of light etched into the mostly slate grey world being presented here.
So my mornings have gone of late, set to tales of lonely people, dilapidated places, and not-so-distant memories. The Blues with a capital "B", the proper way to wallow in the winter months... Yet, hints of optimism pepper the collection. "Strange lands hold no fear for me," Kinkel-Schuster declares on "I Want Blood". Battle tested, ready for what lies around the bend. A new beginning, a new day. Sounds like perfect morning music to me.
Speaking of morning music, we shared a session and a cup of coffee with Water Liars last Spring.