I'm a fan of most of the different directions Trans AM has gone over the course of their career and, from this perspective, the album does not disappoint. The songs are perhaps more traditional in their structure than some of the previous Trans AM albums, but that is not to say this is just another 'post' rock album. It's less experimental, but more immediately accessible. I would imagine most listeners will enjoy "Liberation" right from the start.
A couple points of criticism are in order. First, the songs are thematically related by their textual component alone. That is, their political message is the strongest connecting thread through this somewhat scattered album. After spending a fair amount of time listening from beginning to end, I'm not picking up on strong specifically musical connections. One review points out that this feels like a collection of b-sides. I would go that far, but I agree that a coherent musical direction is lacking in this album unlike, say, "Future World" or "Surrender to the Night." At the same time, the variety of music directions keeps things interesting and unexpected. I'm not counting the issue of focus against "Liberation," but it's worth noting.
Second, I realize how unpopular G.W. Bush's administration and policy is, but it is such an obvious theme. Without taking a political side, I'd just like to say that this dead horse needs to be put to rest. Trans AM is smarter than to make an album that so directly deals with post 9/11 political unrest. For one thing, we've heard it done plenty. There's nothing new here. Secondly, there is a distinct lack of subtly, especially with tracks like "Uninvited Guest" as if their point wasn't obvious enough so they feel the need to spell it out for us with doctored Bush quotes.
For me, one of the beauties of art is how it can aestheticize an idea to present it distinctly different from how it would be presented in a speech or in a news article. When one's thesis becomes too obvious, you have to wonder why they're communicating these ideas in such a direct manner, when they should be doing it mostly through the music. This isn't always the case, but with "Liberation", I feel like I'm being constantly reminded of something that was all too transparent from the beginning.
At this point, I've become more critical than I initially intended. This is a strong album, and a fun one as well. If you can forgive the cookie-cutter political messages and just rock out to the music, you'll probably enjoy this a lot. Even though it continues to receive mixed reviews from Trans AM fans, I think it's worth checking out for yourself. 30-Second previews on iTunes or Amazon give a sufficiently clear picture of what's in store. Overall, this is a strong addition to Trans AM's discography, but one with a few flaws that will undoubtedly date the album.