Liars: WIXIW

Liars: WIXIW
Mute (2012)

Why do I feel hesitant to post about the new Liars record on here? It’s gotten harder and harder to post about what I’m listening to because somehow Evol Kween The Musical has become about far-out noise and experimental borders, rather than whatever record is getting me out of bed each day. The thought that Liars might not fit into whatever this blog has become is completely ridiculous. Liars don’t make mainstream music, indie maybe, but certainly not alternative in the way that word is used today.

Liars’ tour supporting Radiohead last year is an obvious influence on WIXIW. Although, this isn’t an earnest cloud of post-electronic rock. In typical Liars fashion they have taken the influence, eaten it and regurgitated it, this time as an electronic take on their ‘classic’ earlier work They Were Wrong so we Drowned and Drum’s not Dead (if you haven’t heard Drum’s not Dead stop reading, buy it, and experience a change in life). The vibe is taut and everything is dark in a desolate William-Gibson’s-future kind of way. The boys’ choice of rhythms stems from the tribal-esque notions on those earlier records but this time the drums are crisp, precise and skittery, like a  Gang Gang Dance cloaked in Black Metal.

Liars’ appeal is their unwillingness to rest on their laurels. No two albums are the same and WIXIW is the best thing they’ve done since Drum’s not Dead. I, personally, am excited they’ve given up the rock-action they explored on predecessors Liars and Sisterworld. Not that they did ‘rock’ badly, but they sound so much more creative here. Press coverage in the lead up to WIXIW‘s release has them discussing the desire to take on the challenge of making an electronic record that avoided being a ‘production’ of samples.WIXIWsounds very much like a live band.

The most exciting moments are among the most conventional, a term I use loosely. Lead ‘single’ No 1 Against the Rush speaks of Gary Numan, with its metronomic beat and slinky bass lines, but Angus Andrew’s morphine soaked vocals and the accompanying serial killer film clip will never climb out of the sewers. His and Mine Sensations is a gorgeous meditation on dub, while Brats is as close as the band will ever get to the dance floor.

Liars still sound positively deranged on tracks like Octagon, Flood to Flood and particularly the title track with its vertiginous synths. So don’t fear that your favourite group has gone ‘dance’. I love these guys, I think they’re one of the most exciting song-oriented bands around. Fingers crossed that Liars make it out to Angus’ homeland on the back of this record. I hear the live shows in support of WIXIW have been off the hook.

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