Album Review

WIXIW

WIXIW

By Liars

MUTE
8.5 / 10
6th June 2012

By Courtney Sanders


With WIXIW (Wish You) Liars have turned all introspective, delivering a sixth studio album that is haunting for its self-reflection and nostalgia, rather than any obvious theme.

The hype for WIXIW started about six months ago as the band began posting on their appropriately-titled – considering their Sisterworld obsession with bloody, crude crime - Amateur Gore tumblr page. The video posts were abstract collages of seemingly disparate footage, interspersed by the band in their practice space. Time lapse footage of a decaying banana, band in practice space, an ant colony taking over a plant, Google Map of the band’s practice space, the letter ‘L’ misshapen at the bottom of a water-filled bath, the band in their practice space, microphones held up to inanimate objects like a pile of books: practice space-weirdness-practice space-weirdness. It’s same shit different day for Liars, a bunch of art-school kids who have changed sonic tact on each successive record.

However random the band’s influences appear they are inherently tuned into the social paradigm of their time. However accidental or subconscious - the end product of a band who take conspiracy forums as seriously as they do the newspaper – Liars wrote an album about feeling dislocated from reality (Sisterworld) in Los Angeles when our obsessive relationship with celebrity, often online, had reached fever pitch. They channeled the political frustration of Gang of Four with They Threw Us in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top just as George Bush ascended the United States Presidency, only to follow that up with an exasperated concept album related to the hunting of witches in 2004 (They Were Wrong, So We Drowned).

Now what? As exasperation with technological innovation, political helplessness and corporate control gave birth to the likes Occupy Wall Street, so to has it seen an older (you know, like 30 year olds) defer to nostalgic self-reflection and a post-internet Generation Y become fascinated with stuff they’ve never had, like film cameras and vinyl. Liars, in a diatribe of hazy, nature-oriented imagery and musical eclecticism have released an album that is as old-school as it is Liars Version 2.0.

Album closer, ‘Annual Moon Words’ establishes the melancholic undertone of WIXIW and delivers a fatalist, repetitive call to arms: ““We live to die / So all I know just how to say goodbye”. ‘The Exact Colour of Doubt’ sounds like another ‘…Heart Attack’ from Drums Not Dead: watery handclaps and incomprehensible lyrics become emotionally profound under the tutelage of Aaron Hemphill’s guitar. Next up ‘Flood to Flood’ channels the isolationist tendencies of Sisterworld as Angus Andrews struggles with “Teach me how to be a person / I refuse to be a person’ under the weight of layered feedback. Then there’s the second track that in both a sonic and titular sense (the track’s called ‘Brat) suggests way early Liars and earlier times; it could easily have been lifted from a Gatecrasher remix album of Factory’s catalogue or fill a B-side to ‘Houseclouds’ from their 2007 self-titled effort.

WIXIW isn’t as obvious as Sisterworld or as aggressive as They Threw Us in a Trench…, but Liars should be commended for using their previous work to explore old frontiers in a new, challenging way; something that most of us currently trying to do, whether we realize it or not.






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