Phantom Limb was released in February, but I’m shamefully only now hearing it. It’s excellent, and if you haven’t heard of Water Liars or their debut album, or maybe you’ve heard of ‘em, but haven’t gotten around to listening just yet, you should do so immediately. It’s a beautifully reckless revelation of the vulnerabilities inherent in stark realities. Water Liars will immediately resonate with fans of artists like Jason Molina, Damien Jurado, Jason Isbell, A.A. Bondy, etc.
This is just an excellent all around album. It’s soulful in just about every way. From their mournful harmonies to their slow warm guitar chords to their spacious and deep drum beats. It all seems to go well with a glass or more of bourbon. Ask me how I know.
Phantom Limb begins with a grungy distorted guitar riff that does its job in baptizing the weak of heart and easily distracted into the alluringly harsh realities of the Water Liars’ world. The first song, “$100,” is a rocker with a somewhat sweet melody and harmony. Perhaps a contradiction you may say, but it fits when you consider that the song is essentially a love song about inviting lust and danger by paying for the services of a prostitute that robs the narrator of his wallet and leaves him with a busted jaw. And despite lamenting that he “wishes he had never,” at least he got to feel perfection if only for a short while.
Songs like “Dog Eaten,” “Whoa Back,” “Low and Long,” and “On the Day” are heart breakers. They’ll make you cry if you’re not careful, but perhaps that’s what you need. It’s as if there’s just this dull constant throbbing pain of memories and regrets. Or if you’re in the mood for fighting, perhaps a song like “Short Hairs” is more your speed. You really can’t go wrong listening to this album, so sit back and relax and let some of the other engineering weirdness like feedback and tape hiss and recordings of poet sermons wash over you as you take it all in. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Go buy the album from Misra Records’ store