• Record Label: Mute
  • Release Date: Feb 24, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 31
  2. Negative: 3 out of 31
  1. By not just defying but denying the expectations about what their music should be like, the Liars have created one of the most fascinating, confrontational albums of the 2000s.
  2. In the same way Radiohead took an impeccable album like OK Computer and stepped into unfamiliar territory with Kid A, Liars have sidestepped the majority of their familiar styles and broken free towards new explorations.
  3. Though it might not be the most easily digestible subject matter, it melds thought and execution as well as any concept album in recent memory.
  4. Entertainment Weekly
    Fewer thrills, more chills. [27 Feb 2004, p.98]
  5. 82
    It’s hard to tell if the band wants us to revel along in their psychosis or throw up our hands with disgust.
  6. 80
    There’s nothing even remotely punk-funk here, instead conventional structures are stretched, shattered and re-assembled.
  7. A fascinatingly cinematic, image-laden and claustrophobic album that feels like the someone else's nightmare.
  8. Q Magazine
    Like other scary experiences, it's also frequently exhilarating. [Mar 2004, p.107]
  9. For such menacing music, the overall effect is oddly inviting.
  10. Tapping in to our fearful collective unconscious, Liars have conjured a darkly mesmeric, thrillingly full-blooded, paranoid drama of ritual and occultism built from twitchy electronica, shrieking vintage synths, punk noise and unsettlingly twisted hip hop.
  11. Urb
    So dark and twisted that it makes Joy Division seem like shiny happy people. [Mar 2004, p.110]
  12. The concept is difficult to follow and the music occasionally unpleasant. But the band’s willingness to stretch in new directions is refreshing.
  13. The Wire
    For the most part it works, weaving a dark atmosphere of foreboding and dread through the songs. [#240, p.68]
  14. Anyone expecting a breakout album by a group poised to break out might be left wanting. But as a lateral move to post-punk's crinkly margins, They Were Wrong is an ante-upping exercise, as entrancing as it is bracing.
  15. The first time through, the album is as much an endurance test as an entertainment, reaching back to New York rock's most raucous no-wave experiments of the late 1970's and also echoing vanguardists like Merzbow and This Heat.
  16. Less punkish than its predecessor, the Liars’ second effort, although marred by Wagnerian excess, lyrical inanity and overlong atmospherics, is still a record of non-commercialized large beats and immense technical skill.
  17. While it doesn't work stunningly as a whole, there are places where the group comes together to create dark and blistering rock tracks that stand with the best work they've ever done.
  18. Contrary to what some have claimed, They Were Wrong is listenable, and intentionally so: the band frequently finds ways to successfully straddle the fence between form and noise... though most of the time, it's admittedly impenetrable and alienating.
  19. Mojo
    Not quite magic but an impressive attempt at experimental spell-weaving. [Mar 2004, p.101]
  20. Alternative Press
    Channels the spirits of no wave via clinks and clanks, doomy vocal chants, ominous tribal thumps, abstract guitar scraping and jarring haunted-forrest samples. [Mar 2004, p.110]
  21. Ultimately, we’re left wondering: have Liars lost it, or found themselves?
  22. Frequently unpleasant, but consistently interesting.
  23. Uncut
    Liars' aim is to challenge the listener with their gruelling strangeness. [Apr 2004, p.101]
  24. Though some sections are plodding and one-dimensional, others lock into place.
  25. An album that’s simultaneously stimulating and crappy.
  26. 'They Were Wrong, So We Drowned' is a remarkably assured second album, and considerably more audacious than its predecessor, but it's a far from flawless affair.
  27. An electronic-noise collage that sounds disturbingly rooted in the what-the-fuck? tradition of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
  28. The idiosyncratic intellectualism, the schrapnels of noise, and the outlandish creative liberties are still there, but without the funk these elements are uncomfortably exposed, like a naked body standing shivering in the cold.
  29. Spin
    Unlistenable. [Mar 2004, p.96]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. BrianC.
    May 2, 2008
    My favorite cd of all time, and certainly the best liars cd as well in my opinion.
  2. EricC
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oh, the benefit of retrospect, right? Years have passed since this album's release, and most critics, either through recent Liars Oh, the benefit of retrospect, right? Years have passed since this album's release, and most critics, either through recent Liars reviews and articals, have admitted that They Were Wrong was underrated. Little good that does to their mediocre Metascore, which will scare away potential listeners. It's their loss, as this album is neither unlistenable or overly difficult. So what if it's not their greatest triumph so far. It's definately more engaging than their debut and their recent self-titled release. They took a sharp left turn after a hyped up review and the critics were shocked and felt betrayed. How dare a band explore new ideas and sounds, right? That's only allowed for Bob Dylan and Radiohead. Whatever, this is a fantastic album for anyone willing to give it their time. Full Review »
  3. EoinT
    Jan 28, 2007
    F*cking ace.