Phantom Limb, the first album by Water Liars, was recorded over the course of one weekend with a single microphone.
With the release of their sophomore album Wyoming, the Missouri-Mississippi musical connection known as Water Liars stake their claim as torch bearers of a unique blend of soft indie rock, country, and blues. The two-person band may have recorded Wyoming on the cheap, but the buzz of the instruments and the intimate nature of the songs only add to the raw, simplistic aura of the overall work.
Lead singer Justin Kinkel-Schuster along with drummer Andrew Bryant make up Water Liars who formed rather spontaneously in the summer of 2011. Upon hearing the results of their efforts, it's easy to see how these fast friends have now released two albums in the span of one year. Wyoming is an unassuming treasure with hypnotic harmony and sometimes haunting lyrics that stick with listeners long after the music has ceased.
There are numerous standout tracks on Wyoming, but my absolute favorite would have to be "You Work Days I Work Nights" where Kinkel-Schuster and Bryant's vocals perfectly intertwine with one guitar and a basic beat. "Linens" is one of those classic, yearning love songs that you grow fonder of with each and every listen. Water Liars switches to a traditional blues style for "Backbone" harkening back to a time when lyrics were simple and relatable. Title track “Wyoming” is a moody, atmospheric song about love lost. The hook where Kinkel-Schuster laments that he “..will die in Wyoming in a drug-store parking lot…” is an ingenious piece of songwriting.
It’s hard to find anything to complain about in regards to Wyoming. Unlike many albums pumped out by massively popular artists, Wyoming is one of those rare works where you can sit back and enjoy without having to skip over some terrible tracks in order to get to the good stuff. One small nitpick is that several of the best songs feel like they end abruptly (“Backbone” and “Wyoming” in particular) and could have been further fleshed-out. Wyoming has my utmost recommendation as a refreshing, unrefined marvel in an industry riddled with technology.