Originally published in Punk Planet September/October 2006
The Jesus Lizard’s third full-length, released some 14 years ago, simply is without rival.
A pummeling, explosive record, it’s one of those rare discs that connects those who’ve discovered it. We all remember the blood-curdling thrill of being ripped out of our seats by the jackhammer rumble of the album-opening “Boilermaker” and the roiling force of “Rope.” We talk about the first time we bounced off a wall to the catchy hooks of “Puss” or roared with David Yow to the throat-tearing refrains of “The Art of Self Defense” or “Dancing Naked Ladies.” Not a single song, in the midst of all that fury, was out of place, each track a vicious bark from an uncaged beast.
All ten songs hit their mark and tear it to shreds. Even now, the group’s tightly wound form of attack — the ear-splitting punk roar undercut with David Wm. Sims’ and Mac McNeilly’s bluesy percussive swagger or Duane Denison’s jazzy guitar figures — continues to inspire young musicians, as well it should. But nobody’s managed to replicate Yow’s strange stage presence.
And nobody’s created a sequel to Liar.
I’ll calm down when I’m shaken: Clogs — Lantern, Carrie Yury — Mutter, The For Carnation — S/T, Fugazi — The Argument, Race Against Space — untitled demo