Water Liars teeters back and forth between fast and slow, loud and quiet, hopeful and dreadful. While the theme of the album is all about love and redemption, it is often blood soaked and weary, with a haunting collection of songs that will leave you stirred and unsettled.
“It is a record about trying to live and love and earn a living in times and places that don’t make it easy on anybody,” says frontman Justin Kinkel-Schuster. “It’s about trying to handle the bad times that nobody escapes and take care of the good times as long as they last."
It's a painful and prideful album that comes form the outskirts of America — places where people live their lives the way they want. And in doing so, even when it doesn't feel easy, they get it right.
I Want Blood is the third track off the album, adding a new level of world-weariness to Kinkel-Schuster's troubadour vocals. At the same time, he makes it aptly clear that he is ready to take on whatever the world wants to throw at him.
In doing so, he captures what makes this such an amazing album. If this band ever attempts to do anything, it's that they want to tell stories about the way life is in the world around them. And because they live in urban centers like Los Angeles, New York, or even Chicago, we quickly pick up that there is a different America that we don't always hear enough about.
Their home and the choice locations they play while on the road represent people who have guts, guilt, and a great capacity for love. Sometimes this requires the trio to take a slight turn toward county but they never dull their edge in doing so. It adds even more authenticity to their music.
The self-titled album rolls along with an alliterative country edge.
The album opens on a much harder note, however, with a big guitar, bass, and drum punch. Cannibal digs into asking whether the taste of love makes you feel like a cannibal or a vampire. The band follows it up with a heavy-handed open for War Paint before the track settles into a somber drawl.
Other standouts include the country lullaby Swannanoa, the rollicking Ray Charles Dream, and the contemplative conclusion Turn On Me. Trolling Bells is worth a listen too. In it, the band keeps alive its alternative leanings in its guitars but rolls out the vocals in deeply relaxed, addictive heaves.
Originally a duo, Water Liars added GR Robinson on bass shortly after their successful second album. Prior, Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant had skipped a self-titled album and produced Phantom Limb out of Pittsboro, Mississippi, in 2012. The addition of a dedicated bass deepens the sound even more, creating a new and much welcome moodiness in the material.
As the band explains it, there is something about coming from the South that automatically attunes someone to rough things. Even if the songs are not autobiographical in nature, almost all of them rely on a kernels of truth. And although many of them exist with a tinge of darkness, Water Liars don't play to the darkness as much as they help people move through dark times to find redemption.
Water Liars Self-Titled Album Rolls Over 6.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Dark times are part of life. Even the original friendship between Kinkel-Schuster and Bryant occurred during a time when the two were not necessarily happy and were looking for a change. They found it in a unique connection that gave them the ability to deliver a rare and beautiful package of songs.
You can find Water Liars on Amazon or download the album from iTunes. You can also find a vinyl release at Barnes & Noble. For the band's extensive tour schedule, visit Facebook.