A harder and heavier album than its predecessor, 1991’s Goat, Liar is the Jesus Lizard at their most aggressive. The band is slightly more locked-in, with guitarist Duane Denison seeming to play with bassist David Wm. Sims and drummer Mac McNeilly rather than alongside them, but Sims in particular seems to be battling for dominance — his playing on “The Art Of Self-Defense” is superficially simple, but about 80% of the song’s energy is concentrated therein. Vocalist David Yow is higher up in the mix than before, but that doesn’t make his lyrics any more comprehensible or his delivery any more conventional; he still sounds like a drunk having a nightmare next to you on a bus at midnight. What becomes clear on this album is that the Jesus Lizard were astonishing composers — strip away the superficial heaviosity, and the songs are as complex and dynamic as early ’70s King Crimson.

Phil Freeman