From a long lineage of ‘hardcore’ bands, uninterested in affecting the mainstream, come London-based Bikini Atoll. Their Steve Albini-produced second album, following last year’s acclaimed ‘Moratoria’, is a bleak listen. Stradling the gap between US and UK post-punk – one part Beat Happening, another The Fall – ‘Liar’s Exit’ expands frontman Joe Gideon’s post-apocalyptic/pre-historical imagery and skeletal, fractured backbones of songs. There are still echoes of early PJ Harvey in songs like ‘Remains’, however on the more immediate numbers (single ‘Eve’s Rib’, ‘I Turned A Blind Eye’) the band’s own identity shines through cleaner and more effectively.
This is a subtle piece of work. Just spin on to ‘The Conversation’, a Yo La Tengo-style waif of a song, or the pretty, disquietening ‘Silver Moon’ for proof. It’s perhaps in these moments that ‘Liar’s Exit’ fully comes to life. Sure, ‘Nervous Wreck’ is pleasantly wirey and measurably anthemic (“No one cares anymore/They broke your back, they broke your balls”), but it’s essentially a facsimile of Alec Empire’s ‘Addicted To You’ minus the electronics.
Fans of any of the bands mentioned will undoubtedly enjoy this record, and so they should. But while it’s certainly an accomplished and endearing listen, it lacks somewhere that certain spark of identity that would make it really stick out from the pack.
6Tom Edwards's Score