The first time I saw Water Liars, I wished desperately for a whiskey—their road-weary songs and highway-hypnosis reverb of the alt-country via rock ’n roll duo just seemed to be calling for the heat of liquor in the throat. This was in the basement of a local college where The Mountain Goats were scheduled to play. Preparing the way for John Darnielle’s literate poetry set to music is a tall order, but Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant were more than equal to the task. Thundering opener “$100” from their debut album, Phantom Limb, introduced their head-nodding barnburner of a set, a grunge-tinged slab of drone-rock between passages of ear-bleeding country.
2012 went by quick, and included the death of Kinkel-Schuster’s previous hometown hero band Theodore, the formation of Water Liars, the debut album on Misra, touring the US most of the year, and signing with Fat Possum Records for their second effort. It’s that highly anticipated record, titled Wyoming and coming out March 5, that will be showcased at this homecoming Off Broadway stop. If you haven’t seen these busybodies yet, catch them now—before they’re selling out The Pageant.