Water Liars never fake the folk or flex literary muscle over actually saying something.
Fat Possum, 2013
7.7 / 10
Hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, Fat Possum is one of the record labels I enjoy checking out the most mainly because it’s not really far from where I live. And among all of the artists that have released albums through the label, it’s nice to hear one sharing the same state, as is the case of the Water Valley, Mississippi duo Water Liars. Their new album, Wyoming, is their second in just under a year. It’s a model that many independent artists seem to follow now, rather than the old method of taking three years or four to record a follow-up. Thankfully, Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant didn’t allow their hasty output affect the album’s quality.
Although the themes covered are what you’d typically expect from a country-tinged folk album, the pair manages to pepper them with interesting, concrete details. While many Northeastern ‘folk’ acts tend to go overboard with the wordiness of their lyric writing — maybe give Webster’s a thank you in the liner notes — Kinkel-Schuster and Bryant never fake the folk or flex literary muscle over actually saying something. Plus, since we’re dealing with a couple of homegrown Southern boys, their voices aren’t hampered by a grating nasal delivery or goatboy yodeling. Kinkel-Schuster comes across as a mix between Andy Hull and Jim James, sounding like a country Kurt Cobain.
“Fake Heat”, executed with an introspective, somewhat somber though slightly romantic fashion, describes an affair meant as a one-time act of passion but forming into a relationship. “Next time I go over there / Some condoms in the garbage / With a letter from her father / and she’s naked on the bed”. Just a line like that really paints a vivid picture that hints at both despair and lust. Water Liars essentially carry out the fantasy if Josh Tillman ran the show in Fleet Foxes. From rousing rock (final moments of “Cut A Line”) to soulful jamming (“You Work Days I Work Nights”) to somber laments (“Wyoming”), Water Liars are versatile in their attack, but never lose focus of their stories or characters in the process. Wyoming is definitely worth visiting.
Purchase: Water Liars – Wyoming