A charismatic presence of riff rock is prevalent all over Liars For Hire Episode I, the latest release from Canadian 4-piece rock outfit ‘Just Arrogant Animals’. From passionate vocals to distinctive guitar tones, to a percussive bass that compliments punchy grooves, if you’re down to rock, Just Arrogant Animals have got you well covered.
Based in Kawartha Lakes, in Ontario, Canada, the band we’re checking out is a newly formed rock band who are here to give us a fresh-sounding full-length studio release that, while successfully maintaining a solid, coherent sound through all the songs, manage to be varied enough to remain compelling throughout its length. With obvious roots in rock, blues, and even a bit in metal, it is not a surprise that the album ends up being an eclectic fusion that defies being conveniently placed within known genre boundaries. Instead, we have a starter that explores classic hard rock, followed by a pair of stoner blues gems that borrow a page from the book of Arctic Monkeys. Following those we have a whimsical-sounding rock ballad that reminded me of the eccentric compositions of Soundgarden. And the consistently changing sonic characteristics of the songs on this album do not stop changing there.
After the stoner ‘Rattle in My Bones’ with its sleazy riffage, heartfelt vocals, relatively slow tempo that lets the rhythm section shine. And the terrific ‘Mister In-between’, which sees the band utilize the aforementioned whimsical sounding progression to weave a tapestry of fine melodic rock around it, growing in scale consistently until a satisfying, soaring crescendo crashes then throws us safely ashore after a brilliant lead guitar melody part. The bombastic ‘Napalm’ is another rocker that sees the band dip their toes into the waters of metal, with a rhythmically twisting riff and an intricate structure that sees this song becoming one of the album’s more ambitious pieces, then proceeding to achieve a status of heaviness and intricacy that’s unmatched throughout the album.
The foursome of Kyle Knowles, Bri Maharaj, Pat Sabyan, and Mike Murczek, also known as Just Arrogant Animals, and with the help of Barry Haggerty of Haggarty Sound Studio, manage to provide us with a debut of 8 solid tunes that showcase their wide range of musical abilities. Going from rock to blues to metal to funk then back to rock, while remaining committed to a character throughout, is not an easy feat, but it is one that the band carries out valiantly, and more often than not come out on top.