Liars – WIXIW (Mute)
June 10, 2012 by Laurence Gardner
There’s a trailer online for the new Liars album, in which a number of people struggle to pronounce the albums title – it’s wish you. This bizarre title only adds further to the mystery of a band that can’t seem to nail down what genre they want to belong to. And as it is, this, the bands sixth album, finds Liars ditching the traditional guitars in exchange for synthesisers.
Having done away with the heaviness and relatively conventional song structure of previous record Sisterworld, the band instead has employed a more electronic sound, a sound that recalls in part the more experimental and haunting parts of Bowie’s Berlin era trilogy.
The albums opener ‘The Exact Colour of Doubt’ is the album’s most drastic change from the band’s previous sound – the mutterings of vocalist Andrew Angus play out of an ambient background before percussion and guitar slowly manage to sneak themselves in. It’s perhaps the calmest and most celestial track the band has done since Drums Not Dead’s ‘The Other Side of Mt Heart Attack’.
Meanwhile, lead single ‘No.1 Against the Rush’ is the albums highlight. It’s a melancholic pop song driven by its bass, while layers of synth wash overhead, evoking the krautrock of Faust and Can.
While the album retains the often eerie and rhythmic sound of the Liars of old, for example, title track ‘WIXIW’ is built upon a rolling synth line that’s warped and overpowered by its thundering tribal drums.
Elsewhere, the electro ‘Brats’ rolls on with an industrial rhythm while still echoing back to the bands more abrasive past, recalling the punk funk of They Threw Us All in A Trench and Stuck A Monument On Top.
It’s clear that WIXIW is a very different record to what has gone before and that it’ll likely become to be known as the band’s ‘electronic’ record. Though it’s a sure sign that what follows will be a further step in Liars’ perpetual evolution.