Mess - Liars
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Mar 18, 2014
    100
    This is undoubtedly Liars’ most engaging work, and certainly the best Mute album since, well, WIXIW.
  2. Mar 24, 2014
    90
    Now seven albums deep into their career, Liars remain a lasting and distinguished presence, one that continues to question the confinement of genre and fashions their identity around a refusal to do so.
  3. 85
    Mess is characteristically confident and brash, but humane and enduring. In short, it’s up there with the rest of their unerringly brilliant back-catalogue.
  4. Mar 14, 2014
    85
    The kind of envelope-pushing on Mess is nothing if not mature, simultaneously punk as fuck and utterly refined. [Feb/Mar 2014, p.72]
  5. 83
    As the trio continue to remould and refine their craft, Mess, an album fuelled by impulse, demonstrates their ideological core hasn’t moved an inch.
  6. Apr 30, 2014
    80
    All of Mess has an enjoyably menacing feel that will prove inviting to Liars fans and new listeners alike.
  7. Apr 14, 2014
    80
    They’re still nodding to early Pop synthesizer proponents (The Human League, Fad Gadget, A Broken Frame era Depeche Mode), and now mixing in a beefed-up, contemporary EDM blast with the je ne sais quoi that the group infuses into everything it touches.
  8. Apr 7, 2014
    80
    Its lyrics, though often hard to discern in the mumbles, start to get to the core of what Mess is all about--trying to find some sort of peace in this anxiety-breeding world.
  9. Mar 28, 2014
    80
    Even if it's not quite as striking an achievement as WIXIW, it's a lot of fun and shows, once again, that Liars are unquestionably themselves no matter how much they push their boundaries.
  10. Mar 25, 2014
    80
    The group deftly submits to the forms and tropes of electro-pop and vintage EBM.
  11. Mar 25, 2014
    80
    Sonically, the capricious trio has brought about a fresh positive energy while still delving into the darkness that has always been present throughout their career.
  12. 80
    Mess’ is characterised by synths and distorted beats. But unlike the often self-doubting and timid ‘WIXIW’, it revels in its own demented chaos.
  13. Mar 24, 2014
    80
    As with their previous six albums, Liars find a way to both innovate and deliver a brand-loyal effort with (dis)ease.
  14. Liars revel in keeping their listeners on edge and entertained making Mess their most wickedly enjoyable album yet.
  15. Mar 24, 2014
    80
    It's another welcome reversal for a band that, while keeping true to the same program of intense macabre album after album, keeps finding new ways to vary their ominous approach.
  16. Mar 21, 2014
    80
    As much as Mess is a drive further across electronic borders Liars explored in 2012 with WIXIW, it is simultaneously a consolidation of all that has come before.
  17. Mar 20, 2014
    80
    With overwhelming confidence the Brooklyn-based trio present 11 songs of unerring quality and an almost uncountable numbers of flicks and tricks.
  18. Mar 19, 2014
    80
    Being a Liars album, it is magnificent.
  19. Mar 14, 2014
    80
    Liars' untidy room remains a wonderful place to visit. [Apr 2014, p.113]
  20. Mar 14, 2014
    80
    Analogue synths and electronic drums combine with distorted tribal chants to darkly compelling effect. [Apr 2014, P.77]
  21. Mar 14, 2014
    80
    Another ambitious statement from a band that has made a habit of reinventing themselves at every stage, while still, somehow, sounding uniquely like Liars.
  22. Apr 18, 2014
    75
    The alterations and differences may be slighter and more comparable to alt-music's lexicon, but that's bound to happen after a decade and a half. Still, the redefinition continues, and so does the compelling art. [No. 108, p.51]
  23. Mar 25, 2014
    75
    More than anything, Mess is impactful commentary about the contemporary tendency to consume culture passively.
  24. Mar 14, 2014
    75
    Uniquely with Mess, they've instead dealt with the most colossal environment, making a grander statement about the aphotic bleakness of society in the process
  25. Mar 25, 2014
    74
    Where WIXIW was the intricately ordered product of a hundred thousand small decisions, Mess is a sloppy, outward-turned--and, it has to be said, uneven--quagmire built with the kind of swagger that dares you to use its own title against it.
  26. Apr 4, 2014
    70
    Here, they reach for a macabre death-disco vibe.
  27. Mar 26, 2014
    70
    On Mess, surface is meaning, with the album’s vacuous hedonism merely another expression of the theme of spiritual oblivion that Liars have explored ever since their debut.
  28. Mar 25, 2014
    70
    They’ve created what is without a doubt their least innovative and least gloriously messy album. It’s a testament to the sturdy identity underneath the surface that the result is great nonetheless.
  29. Mar 24, 2014
    69
    As enjoyable as it can be, Mess is a centrist record from a band without a lot of centrist strengths and appreciating it can feel like a symbolic gesture.
  30. May 1, 2014
    67
    For a group that's never settled down, Mess could be described as Liars' comfort zone.
  31. Mar 31, 2014
    60
    The pace rarely drops and, at points, the noise and structure is, indeed, messy, but the whole is punka focused collection with a bloody-minded, if also bloody-nosed, vision throughout.
  32. Mar 27, 2014
    60
    The album feels less ponderous and more balls-out than its predecessor, but the band hasn’t stitched up its maniacal tendencies into commercial pop either.
  33. Mar 25, 2014
    60
    Its coda features a lone, breathy synth that unfurls like a tattered flag planted high atop a snow-covered peak, and, like the band’s best work, the song is comparable to little else in the pop/indie landscape—a far cry from the tepid feel that permeates too much of this Mess.
  34. Mar 28, 2014
    50
    Mess is more immediate than the past couple of albums, and in context, more baffling. [Mar 2014, p.63]
  35. 50
    Mess gets caught in an odd trap in that it’s neither patient nor nimble.
  36. Mar 26, 2014
    50
    Their meh generation, “shouting lager lager” take on four-on-the-floor energy is starting to wear a bit thin.
  37. Mar 21, 2014
    40
    Mess's crepuscular predecessor felt both more innovative, and more likely to open up Liars' demographic. [Apr 2014, p.92]
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Mar 26, 2014
    9
    Perhaps the band's most natural progression yet, MESS sees them take what they learned while making WIXIW and get their hands a little dirtier with it. The first four tracks are a dense punch in the face of high-powered electronica, which slows down a little bit as the album goes on and things get a bit darker. Liars' trademark sense of dread appears mostly on the second half of the album, yet it closes out on its lightest moment with Left Speaker Blown.

    The album itself may be a bit more of a grower than WIXIW was, but it's every bit as good. Yet another masterful collection of songs put out by this band.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    8
    lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo Full Review »
  3. Jun 24, 2014
    9
    This album is a perfect combination of unhinged and tranquil noise. It's like a pet bear: You feel safe most of the time but at any moment it can maul your face off. Full Review »