The Beautiful Liar
Where does a multi-platinum alternative rock band go on their third album, written and recorded in the midst of a global health pandemic? Into a storybook fantasy, of course. X Ambassadors’ The Beautiful Liar is a literary journey, a concept album in which the concept is absurdity: Across 16 tracks, the LP plays out like a Brothers Grimm fairytale—more of a nightmare than anything else—a rumination on darkness that, were it not sequenced in chapters, would be hard to digest. The best way in is to listen sequentially, but the songs do stand on their own: like in the vaudevillian arena rock of “My Own Monster,” the gothic echoes of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” heard on “Beautiful Liar,” the haunted Western production of “B******t,” and the temporarily life-affirming “Okay.” The same, strangely enough, can be said of the spoken-word interludes, like in “Conversations With My Friends,” a sonic divorce from reality that teeters on post-hardcore, or in the anti-war tracks “Theater of War” and the macabre pseudo-commercial “A BRIEF WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS.” On The Beautiful Liar, X Ambassadors have created their own world, a ghoulish ride through the worst of human behavior. Somehow, it sounds so good.