Todd Rundgren has a pretty prolific discography, and many of his recordings fall within the progressive rock genre, especially his earlier solo releases as well as those with the band Utopia. This icon has put together over 20 releases, and his latest Liars is the first one in a few years, and while it occasionally flirts with keyboard dominated prog rock and briefly pokes at classic arena-guitar rock, for the most part this is pedestrian pop rock that never really seems to go anywhere.
Let's first clear the air-I am a big Rundgren supporter, and always have been. However, many of the songs here just don't seem to go anywhere. Sure, there's the catchy "Truth" or the aggressive "Happy Anniversary", with its King Crimson-like verse/chorus and Jeff Beck inspired guitar solo by Ken Emerson, but for the most part the first half of the CD is filled with generic songs like "Soul Brother", "Sweet" and "Stoodup."
Things begin to pick up with "Mammon", which is probably one of the best songs on the album. Here, the tone gets dark and heavy, as Todd contributes some ominous keyboards and dirty guitar work. The lyrics take on a more religious tone with this one, as Todd pits the computer age individual against the "true believer." "And you'd like to rub my face in it, your god, your god, and you'd like to rub my face in it, your god, your god is Mammon." There's some funky pop on "Wondering", symphonic prog on "Afterlife" (love those keyboards!) and driving electronic rock on "Living."
In short, too much keyboards, not enough guitar on Liars, a decent , but ultimately dull album from a musical icon that is looking to find his next rocket to the top of the charts. While there are glimpses of the melodic brilliance that Rundgren is capable of writing, he falls far short as far as his muslcal skills are concerned.
Oh...and did I mention that the cover is simply awful!
3) Happy Anniversary
4) Soul Brother
5) Stood Up
13) God Said