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Liars have returned with their sixth studio album and follow-up
to 2010 s critically lauded Sisterworld. WIXIW was recorded in
LA and self-produced by the band with additional production
from Mute founder Daniel Miller and mixed by Tom Biller. The
band worked more collaboratively than on previous recordings
and began when frontman Angus Andrew and bassist Aaron
Hemphill moved into an isolated cabin in the mountains to
The album is simultaneously the most accessible and the most
challenging release from this iconoclastic band - it is both a
summation of Liars work up to now, and a complete break
from anything they have done previously.
As Angus jokes, If we aren t confusing people, it s not us. If
we aren t confusing ourselves with what we do, then we ve
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Top Customer Reviews
Some have said it's all textures rather than hits, and while I agree there are probably no hits, I think this overlooks the strong beats and melodies found throughout. It may not be a dance album, but it certainly lends itself to dance remixes.
Within the universe of smooth electronica, there is a fascinating diversity across the eleven tracks. One common element, though, is the falsetto crooning vocals. This is the one thing that doesn't always hit me quite right, but it does assist in creating the album's stylistic coherence.
I disagree with those who say this album is more adventurous and experimental than the last two. It may be adventurous for the Liars to tackle a type of music they haven't played before, but it doesn't sound all that radical to the listener, not if you've heard electronica over the years. In fact, I think this is the Liars' most accessible album.
WIXIW is not as abrasive as Liars (2007) or Sisterworld (2010), and I don't think it's a masterpiece on the level of Sisterworld (see my review). It's not as ambitious -- it's not really *about* anything, other than relationships. (WIXIW, it turns out, is pronounced "wish you.")
This is an album that sounds great, sets a mood, but not one that has Something To Say. I could give it four stars by comparison with Sisterworld, but that doesn't seem like the right point of comparison. Compared to most of the rest of what's out there today in pop/rock, it's a five star album without a doubt.
From there it goes into "No. 1 Against the Rush", which is relaxed enough to put you, once again, into kind of lull, with a repetitious, rather relaxed rhythm; however, the overlapping synthesizers create a wonderfully discomforting ambiance, which is really what the album is rife with. From there it follows that same basic pattern: Relaxed beat, with overlaying instruments creating a constant feeling of discomfort and rising tension to the point where it makes your skin crawl.
Only complaints; the title track, "Wixiw", which sits in the exact middle of the album is very loud, abrasive and out of place with the rest of the album. It has a kind of sonic shift half way through the song, which I would praise if the shift reflected the sound of the album either preceding or proceeding the song, but it doesn't. It's simply out of place. The songs preceding "Wixiw" are all calm with rising tension. The songs proceeding "Wixiw" start off more tense, but kind of ease off, becoming more fun to listen to. "Wixiw" is just nonstop intensity, without the proper feeling of climax.
Also, I wix the track listing, "Who is the Hunter" and "Brats" were switched around. Most of the album is very, very electronic, but the ending track, "Annual Moon Words" is organic. "Who is the Hunter" (best song on the album, in my opinion) begins with a very synthetic sound, and ends with the organic sound of violins, while "Brats" is completely synthetic. It just would of been a better way to close the album without making "Annual Moon Worlds" as badly out of place. That's my personal opinion, however; I'm no music producer, and I'm sure Liars had a reason for setting up the track listing the way they did. Either way, this album gets a very high recommendation from me, and Liars, more than most bands, do deserve your money. Plus, for a $5.00 mp3 download, value wise, this album is a steal. Love it.
"WIXIW" (11 tracks; 43 min.) starts off with a very dreamy, electronic track "The Exact Color of Doubt" and with track 2 "Octagon" in the same vein, it becomes clear that the band has taken yet another left turn in their on-going musical journey, and this might be their version of Radiohead's "Kid A" meets "The King of Limbs". Trank 3 "No. 1 Against the Rush" (1st single; a fantasy footbal reference?) reminded me somehow of latter-day the National. "A Ring on Every Finger" is a jumpy song (with in fact part of the melody seemingly lifted straight from the Belgian band Telex's song "Lakelele" of some 30 years ago). Good track follow one after another, and once you are submerged into the electronica, this is as good as anything Liars have done. "Ill Valley Prodigies" recalls early-Pink Floyd. The title track becomes an urgent multi-layered synthesizer exercise, just beautiful. Towards the end of the album we get "Brats", a slighly disco-flavored tune that is as immediately accessible as anything on here (and another single candidate in my opinion).
In all, while this seemingly comes as a surprise from Liars, this is an album that just shines from start to finish, with nearly a weak moment in it. It is for me one of the year's best albums so far, and sure to finish high on my year-end list. "WIXIW" is HIGHLY RECOMMMENDED!
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