Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Liars - WIXIW
Often hailed by their burgeoning cult following as the most interesting band in the world, you never really know what you're going to get when you find yourself at the point of immersion with a Liars record. That first plunge can lead you into many different places, on their debut 'They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top' it leads to a brash cacophony of punk indebted noise and loud guitar squealings, on 'Drum's Not Dead' you're met with even more glorious swathes of almost psychedelic experimentation and fair bit of a reverb, but on 'WIXIW' we find yet another altogether different, more electronic prospect.
The opening track 'The Exact Colour Of Doubt' is a slowed down, more tender track. It's sonically very calm and precisely orchestrated, casting misleading aspersions as to what the rest of the record entails. 'Octogon' follows, also slowed down, but far from emotive or calm. The track sounds paranoid and dripping with fear, as it judders along spookily with the notorious creepy Liars vocals embedding themselves over the top of the quickening beat and warped house-style rhythm. It's a quick change of mood, from calm to on-edget. These constant style changes throughout the album being just one reason as to why Liars are so utterly captivating. And then 'No.1 Against the Rush' bleeds its way into your ears. A track with multiple rhythms bubbling underneath and a whole lot of brooding, it's everything The Horrors wish they could be with radiant bright synth lines and a wholly transfixing vocal delivery. Add that to the bizarre murder orientated video and this has to be one of the finest yet totally messed up tracks of the year.
Then just as you think you might have pinned this album down, 'A Ring On Every Finger' shoves some early LCD Soundsystem style rhythms with looped grunts and overlapping, competing vocals. By this point in the record it's already incredibly evident how inventive Liars are, managing to cram multiple ideas and textures into one song. It's for this reason that on first listen, 'WIXIW' comes across as very alien and hard to digest. But if you feel overwhelmed, give this record repeat listens and the rewards will present themselves to you in abundance. Title track 'WIXIW' and track 'Flood To Flood' for example, are increasingly complex and the sharp invasive synth blasts may feel a bit too pronounced at first, but once you look underneath and listen deeply all sorts of bizarre lyrics and hidden rhythms reveal themselves pleasingly.
Despite the occasional electronic slaughter on this album (like 'Brats' which sounds like a mid-90s rave anthem and entirely different to the rest of WIXIW), this is simultaneously Liars' most restrained, and one of their most difficult experimental albums. But every chop and change, and moment of apocalyptic brooding is visionary and carries thousands of times more depth than most modern experimental outfits. This is not their best album by any stretch, but it certainly warrants maximum attention over multiple listens, and is thoroughly engrossing and foreboding throughout.