As Delaire The Liar continue to grow in reputation, it becomes less and less where they’re ‘supposed’ to be. Note the twinge of a perfunctory vernacular there, because it’s coming from the perspective of an industry that might want to milk them for all their worth, but just can’t. They’ve historically been too unpredictable for that, zigging when you might expect them to zag, and reaping their own, entirely different rewards off the back of it. And that’s the best way for Delaire The Liar to be, in truth. They’ve never seeded expectations of a band with a ‘sellout’ swing in them, as past lineups have fluctuated in size to re-carve and re-mould a post-hardcore base with whatever touches of macabre or angularity felt appropriate at the time.
Perhaps it’s why they’re yet to have a full album despite—their creative path is too tangled to work in such a format, but instead strikes upon more immediate jolts of inspiration that are more convenient to actualise. So here’s Self Defence, an EP that strikes a suitably lean, potent figure, and one that serves Delaire The Liar extremely well at its best. Now as a trio, there’s a leanness and a wiry quality that’s more readily available to tap into. As they explore it in their own ways, Self Defence presents what might be a couple of genuine apices in Delaire The Liar’s career thus far.
The opener angel number., though, isn’t entirely one of them. It’s definitely not bad, as a slower burn that puts bassist Em Lodge forth as a good secondary vocal option, but it’s also not flying out of the traps in a way that’s more indicative of what to come. You’ll find more of that on the subsequent songs bite trap. and all your labour., in which Delaire The Liar fully fly off the handle with their best At The Drive-In impression to phenomenal effect. It’s where their threads end up weaving together with both tightness and an eye for colouring in the details. In terms of an affectation that mirrors Gerard Way’s electrified, on-edge thrust, Ffin Colley absolutely delivers as a vocalist, as well as finding the right ways to factor in a punk dynamism and a smattering of Creeper-adjacent flamboyance.
As for the final track forebodies., it’s yet another repurposing of their particular hybrid, this time announcing itself with a grinding guitar lead, from which blossoms a flair from the dramatic in its room-filling aura and general sense of theatricality. It’s once again indicative of Delaire The Liar’s constant movement and revitalisation, and how really, the only nailed-on factor, is their own explosiveness. Their own ravenous presence runs in tandem with the top-to-bottom enormity of it all, while also juggling a profound kinship to the underground creatively that runs taut throughout. No concessions are made and no ideas are watered down; this is exactly who Delaire The Liar want to be, and Self Defence is all the stronger for it. Add in the lyrical concept of the human propensity for survival by any means necessary—no matter how drastic the action or how violent the outcome—and the fangs and the blood and the dark backdrop only become more prominent.
It’s all evident of how many layers Delaire The Liar have, and have always had, as a matter of fact. ‘Chameleonic’ might be the wrong word, but there’s a range to the ambition and skillset that makes it difficult to sit still. Self Defence is able to wring so much out of that, to where certain flickers could very well reveal the best incarnation of Delaire The Liar to date. As always with them, it’s fascinating to see where this could lead to, especially when they never seem to telegraph anything explicitly, but it always lands as the most natural expansion in the world. Wherever that’ll prove to be, the heights that Self Defence climbs provides the ideal vantage point for a leap into literally anywhere.
For fans of: At The Drive-In, Marmozets, My Chemical Romance
‘Self Defence’ by Delaire The Liar is released on 1st September on Rude Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall