Music Review: Amongst Liars – Design

Written by: Nick Ashton


Album Title:

Release Date:

Amongst Liars


4th July 2024

Music is an escape from the humdrum realities of a 9 to 5 existence for many, and quite rightly so. However, there are only so many songs that can be written about fast cars, faster girls and partying until you pass out. Sometimes the injustices and frustrations experienced in the wider world boil over in an explosion of anger that demands an outlet in the form of loud, coruscating music that strikes back at the heart of power. This is the landscape occupied by Amongst Liars, who return with a stunning follow up to their self-titled debut in the form of new album Design. Taking all of the elements that worked so well first-time round – eviscerating lyrics (Ian George), buzz-saw guitars (Leo Burdett), throbbing bass lines (Ross Towner) and hard-hitting drums (Adam Oarton) – the band have expanded their sonic pallet to include keyboards with the arrival of James Brumeo into the fold. I did wonder at first whether this would soften their sound; but the answer to that is a resounding no. The keys act to fill out the spaces left by Leo’s driving riffs, making the wall of sound denser and the assault on the senses even more effective.

Lyrically, the songs continue to explore the themes raised on the debut release while expanding into other territories, reflecting their lived experience over the past 2 years. Hence there are scathing attacks on the political classes, such as The Shameful which calls out the constant lies propagated by ministers to cover up their failures and corruption. Ian’s anger spills over in the chorus as he spits out ‘talk is cheap anyway’ in response to yet another round of false promises. No Control decries the feeling of helplessness felt by many whose hopes and ambitions have been ignored by a government in the pursuit of personal gain; whereas Wolf Machine is a rapid fire call to arms. Full of energy and bile in equal measures, this is the sound of the disaffected fighting back. Although the release date of the album was planned long before the general election was announced, speaking to Ian the timing could not have been better. As he says “If like Amongst Liars, you’re not a fan of the Tories, there is a sweet irony in the fact that the album will be released on the day that you’re hoping the Tories will be blasted from the face of the planet”. The album launch party on 4 July at The Temple in Eastbourne is set to be a double celebration and is certainly not to be missed!

The riffs kick harder than ever yet there is room for new sounds which will take the band into different exciting directions.

Beyond politics, the band tackle other social issues as is the case with You Are Not a Slave which talks about standing up to a bullying culture in the workplace. This is another rapid fire, aggressive song which rattles along at 100 mph and promises to provoke frantic pogoing in response to the ‘jump, how high?’ chorus. Elsewhere By Design is one of several songs which tackle the issue of mental health. Juxtaposing a gentle keyboard refrain with a swooping riff that kicks hard, the lyrics talk about releasing unhealthy thoughts in order to find inner peace. Mind builds from a slow rhythm picked out on the guitar which is taken up by the drums before building into an expansive sound that fills the room. Embracing an expanded sonic pallet, Vice begins with the sort of keyboard sounds more commonly associated with dance music before morphing into more familiar riff territory. This fresh approach brings some diversity to the band’s sound, showing that they are willing to experiment and push boundaries. Speaking of which, Say offers a gentler side to their sound, built around a simple melody strummed on acoustic guitar and fleshed out by a luscious string section. This is perhaps the most personal and certainly the most vulnerable song on the album in which Ian’s battle with his mental health is laid bare for all to see. The raw emotion is almost too painful to witness in this hauntingly beautiful song.

In the space of just two years Amongst Liars have matured considerably, both in terms of their sound and the topics that they address in the music. There is still the anger, aggression and biting political commentary for which they have been known from the outset. But they have also refined their vitriol and have learned how to use it to maximum effect: the socio-political barbs are even sharper than before while issues such as the challenges posed by living with mental health problems are dealt with in a powerful, soul-searching manner. The riffs kick harder than ever yet there is room for new sounds which will take the band into different exciting directions. Join them on tour this July to enjoy the full immersive experience.

ERB RATING: 10/10 


Check out Amongst Liars on their website and social pages:







Track Listing

1. Prelude
2. Ready For This?
3. You Are Not a Slave
4. By Design
5. The Shameful
6. Mind
7. Vice
8. No Control
9. Alibi
10. Say
11. Wolf Machine

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