Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Sound

Water Liars grinds out its sound on third album

10/16/2013

Water Liars plays Vaudeville Mews on Friday, Oct. 18.

Water Liars plays Vaudeville Mews on Friday, Oct. 18.

Water Liars is a band just like thousands around the country. Formed as a two-piece in 2011, the group has a couple of albums under its belt with a third just about ready to record. Its last album, “Wyoming,” was released in March of this year and received a smattering of larger notice. Spin magazine mentioned the first two singles and posted the simple, hauntingly sexy music video for the title track, but beyond that the reception for the album has been what front man Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster referred to as “small but enthusiastic.”

So now, it’s time to do what indie bands do: write tirelessly, tour endlessly and promote in any way possible. In the day and age of Facebook events and the “invite all” button, the concept of good, old-fashioned hard work in promotion can sometimes be lost on younger bands. But Water Liars is putting in the time.

“We’ve been touring most of the year,” Kinkel-Schuster said in a phone interview. “It’s hard, because we all have families and significant others. But for a band at our level, there’s no other way for it to be at this point. For a band that’s largely unknown, there’s no substitute for working as hard as you can. So really, that’s all we’re trying to do. I think we’ll see with this next record if that becomes a viable thing and if the work pays off.

“What we’ve always tried to do, rather than over thinking things, is to act on instinct and go with what feels right.”

Des Moines Finest

It’s that sense for instinctual action that led to the band’s genesis in the first place. Kinkel-Schuster and band-mate Andrew Bryant knew each other for years but had never seriously played together until 2011.

“At the time I lived in St. Louis, and Andrew lived in Mississippi,” Kinkel-Schuster recalled. “I was playing in a different band at the time, but I had a batch of songs that I felt were good but didn’t really fit with what I was doing at the time. So I asked him if I could come down to his house and record these songs. I wanted to just make some rough demos over a weekend, and he said that he’d play some drums just so that we could have a kind of skeletal arrangement. Well, it ended up that when I came down, the feeling clicked. Pretty much then and there, we decided that we needed to try and do something with it. So that’s how (Water Liars) got started. We sort of accidentally made a record.”

The band has grown from there. From that first album, 2012’s “Phantom Limb,” where Bryant was basically riffing on Kinkel-Schuster’s work, the pair collaborated heavily, fleshing “Wyoming” out before heading into the studio. Now, for the band’s third album, the process is more organic.

“The arrangements for these songs were really fleshed out in the studio, as opposed to ‘Wyoming,’ where we had fully arranged demos before we even got (started),” Kinkel-Schuster explained. “So this one has a much more liberal approach to fleshing out songs.”

He describes the songs on the new album as feeling more rock-infused than the introspective, sometimes desolate, atmosphere of “Wyoming.” But in the end, Water Liars is still searching for that sweet spot.

“When it comes down to it, I would hope that we’re making something that a lot of people can, and would, like to listen to, while maintaining that bit of roughness that makes us ‘us,’ ” he said. “I think it’s possible to find that balance.” CV

Iowa Wild