Posted on June 27th, 2012 (8:54 am) by Gabriela Puma

Assigning appropriate genres to bands is often a difficult task, and certain bands, such as Los Angeles bred trio, Liars, make it practically impossible. Part of the problem of labeling Liars (Angus Andrew on vocals and guitar, Aaron Hemphill on percussion, guitar, and synth, and Julian Gross on percussion) is the shear vastness of their discography. Since they formed in 2000, Liars has produced six fantastic yet outstandingly stylistically varied albums. Their extreme devotion to creativity and experimentation is doubtlessly responsible for their continued relevancy and fascination. Their newest album, WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”), continues Liars tradition of excellence as the trio delves deep into the realm of electronic music.

WIXIW, created in a windowless recording studio in LA, is deeply introspective without sacrificing the commitment to rhythm Liars is famous for. Andrew’s vocals tempt you to climb into your own head as tight rhythms loop you into a trance. This album is best enjoyed from start to finish, and due to its almost meditative nature, you may want to listen in private (one of my less entranced housemates told me while I was playing the intense track “Flood to Flood” that it made him feel like he was walking through a dangerous and creepy jungle alone at night. Never fear, dear reader, I did not turn it off, but turned the volume up to full and made screechy monkey noises).

“Who is the Hunter” is the most unique track on the album, as it is the most divergent from the electronic punk the other tracks embody. Its placement on the album is particularly fascinating, as it separates the two high-energy tracks “Flood to Flood” and “Brats.” This is not to say that it is any less trance-like; in fact due to it’s perfectly executed gradual rise in intensity, this track is perhaps the most hypnotic. The first half of the song builds intensity by only having Andrew’s bluesy vocals backed by a torturously slow bassline, with lightening fast snippets of synthesized rhythms foreshadowing the more manic second half. Andrew wails “I never stay too long / It won’t do anyone to watch this reel arouse,” and the song quickens with added electronic percussion. The faster tempo pulls you further into the mournful lyrics. The song reaches its climax with weeping violins climbing higher in pitch as the persistent rhythm slows and eventually fades to nothing.

For those of you who’ve been fans of Liars for the long haul, and appreciate their dancy punk songs, “Brats” is the song for you. I love this song, and my only wish is that it could be longer so there was more of it to enjoy. It starts off with some very heavy bass that is quickly joined by a fast-paced techno beat that wouldn’t be out of place at a trendy German night club. Andrew’s vocals are equally fast-paced and synthesized to give the track a heavy intensity.

The crowning accomplishment of this album has to be “No. 1 Against The Rush.” This song is simply stunning. It feels like a pop song, yet it is haunting. Andrew’s voice is deep and lethargic, and his lyrics are filled with frustrated desire, as he sings “I want you, I want you” with the fast-paced background rhythms. Synthesizers play simple repetitive harmonies mirroring Andrew’s when he cries “again and again and again and again.” It feels like being rendered powerless, stuck in a downward spiral of a dangerous love affair, unable or unwilling to break yourself out of the spell.

Fans of Liars will appreciate WIXIW for their continued dedication to rhythmic excellence and introspective lyrics. The album as a whole is disorientating and trance-like in the way art punk should be. Their dedication to experimentation has allowed them to master the complicated world of electronic rock. Liars has proven they’ve gracefully aged from producing gritty rebellious punk into a more ethereal, transcendental sound.

Track List:
1. The Exact Colour of Doubt
2. Octagon
3. No. 1 Against the Rush
4. A Ring On Every Finger
5. Ill Valley Prodigies
7. His and Mine Sensations
8. Flood to Flood
9. Who Is the Hunter
10. Brats
11. Annual Moon Words

Liars- WIXIW
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

79 / 100
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