on August 2, 2012
This is a very consistent, very accomplished album. It's smooth, and that, not the obvious move to electronica, may be the biggest difference between WIXIW and earlier Liars albums. Even where the beats sound mechanical and could be abrasive -- on the Autechre side of things -- they're not. There is a certain continuity from Sisterworld to WIXIW, a continuity of attitude and ambience, the sense of living in a vast, dark, urban landscape that is vaguely menacing.
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.
on November 24, 2012
You'll either love it or hate it which is probably true for all Liars albums, they are far from melodic mainstream and are not easily described by any musical style. This one has some smooth electronic beats and is a bit more accessible.
on June 5, 2012
I first reviewed this album three months ago, and it never quite left me alone. Accordingly, I've changed my review from 4 stars to 5, and I've edited the below details:
Liars is a group that is more concerned with creating interesting textures of sound rather than radio-ready hits. The group's previous catalog reflects a band that is conscious about each album's sound; constantly changing and tinkering with their sound, the group is known for drastic shifts in music between releases. WIXIW (pronounced "Wish You") is no exception as it finds the band changing direction once again. This time, the group has found themselves in a dark avant-garde electronic-dance experiment.
WIXIW sounds almost like a logical extension of Radiohead's KID A. The album is maintained by melancholy, haunting synthesizers and offbeat rhythms. Like past releases, the value of Liars' music lies in the depth of the album. Each play of the album will open and unlock previously unattended sounds, shifts, and textures; that's what they're made for. These albums are made to be poured over and explored. The discordant, atonal, and asynchronous touches of the album really pay off on repeated listens. The lead single, "No. 1 Against the Rush" isn't immediate, but it's a song that will stay with you long after its running time. "His and Mine Sensations," centers around a vocal line whose delivery is very much beautiful, dark, and a bit creepy; in a way, this line sums up the entire album. "Ring on Every Finger" centers around a very unconventional loop, but the song, centering around near-tribal percussion is unforgettable. Much of WIXIW is layered with dark samples and instrumentation, making this album less accessible to new listeners than previous releases. I will say though, that if you stick with this album, it will open up in really rewarding ways.
While the album does center much around the synth-heavy instrumentation, the band expands its sound from propulsive, rhythmic dance ("Brats,") to soundscaped ambiance that opens the album ("The Exact Colour of Doubt,") to the robotic flittering of closing track "Annual Moon Words." WIXIW is both consistent and exploratory; as soon as you think you have it pinned down, it changes. The first time I listened to WIXIW, it all kind of sounded the same, since the band largely sticks to the same instrumentation throughout the album -- what changes though, is how the band uses this instrumentation to create new and different sounds for each song.
Fans of the tone, mood, and timbre of Radiohead's KID A (or maybe even some of the electronic side of Brad Sucks) will have a lot to explore WIXIW. This album (like previous ones by Liars) proves a good listen for anyone interested in music from a more cerebral point-of-view. WIXIW can be dense and foreboding, but its nuance pays off in big ways if you stay with it. Recommended tracks for sampling: "No.1 Against the Rush," "His and Mine Sensations," and "Brats." Do yourself a favor and check out this album.
on August 29, 2012
First things first, I think this album is wonderful. Having listened to the Liars previous work, the general ambiance and sound from this album was rather unexpected (but, what else can you expect from Liars?). It starts out with "The Exact Colour of Doubt," which is oddly beautiful, and comforting, kind of dropping one into a relaxed lull before dramatically shifting into "Octagon," which is a song filled with so much tension that it makes me want to crawl out of my skin.
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.
In its 10 year run, Brooklyn-based Liars has not stopped surprising us, evolving and developing into many musical directions, yet always sounding very recognizable. After 2010's excellent "Sisterworld" album, the trio now returns with its 6th studio album.
"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!
on July 10, 2012
"WIXIW" (pronounced "Wish You") is the 6th album from this odd Los Angeles band, and is an
absolutely beautiful album of gently twisted electronic atmospheric exploration. In a stunning
turnaround from previous noisy, cacophonous art-rock releases, Liars have graced us with
ripples of rolling, dream-wave soundscapes that reflect the surprise most listeners felt when
Radiohead moved from "OK Computer" to "Kid A". Make no mistake, though pop elements do
make an appearance; these are still not generally hum-along tunes. Instead, we get dark,
shadowy trips through a land of uneasy gauze-covered mystery. Rhythmic, mechanistic, body-
twisting beats occasionally rise to the surface, peeking through a murky, gray film of tense near-
melody. These songs, however, have undeniably attractive-- if somewhat alien-- warmth that
arises from the band's uncompromising purity of vision. Liars have created one of the years
most unexpected, and satisfying, surprises. Resembles a mix of Radiohead, Faust, i LiKE
TRAiNS, Shriekback, This Heat, Tangerine Dream, Cabaret Voltaire, Fridge, Gazelle Twin.
Really, really good!
on August 20, 2012
I like the mood of the album, it's nocturnal and rather hypnotic....I would say it's at least worth checking out if you appreciate introspective music. Lately, I don't happen to find much out there that does a good job on the creative front, I think this does a good job at it.
on February 3, 2014
If you're reading this review and thinking you probably won't check this album out, know this: You will eventually. So good is Wixiw, and so under appreciated, that you can bet your bottom dollar this is one of those records that six years from now will be topping best of the 2010s lists.
I was late to it myself, buying it a few months ago, about a year after its release. I don't know why I waited, as I like their earlier work too, but I certainly regret it. Forget about the 'no singles' comments. They're not a singles band, but cut 'No.1 Against the Rush' or 'Wixiw' or 'Brats' into a playlist and you'll feel the love when it comes on...
A little less falsetto wouldn't have hurt, but I can ignore that for the joy of the warm beats on most tracks and the most artful transition from discord to beauty of the title track. A true 5 star record.
on December 22, 2012
ALBUM OF THE YEAR (2012) - LIARS' "WIXIW" - (MUTE)
Call it Liars' 'Gone Electric Album' minus the motorcycle accident. From the music releases I've heard this year, in the borderless world of boarded-up bodies, LIARS' 'WIXIW' is the album that stayed with me like a life-vest. Under-reviewed and undersold by most of the music press this year, "Wish You" is an album worth rejoicing for. It refuses the easy pop-single and jingle dandruff, even though 'No. #1 Against the Rush' and the 'Exact Color of Doubt' might suggest the opposite. It twists with its own sense of Los Angeles belonging. Recorded under Highway 101--from a road that entrances and disenchants its night-riders with ease--came the sound of this brand new world. Seemingly modest in contrast to Liars' masterpiece of 2006 ('Drum's Not Dead') and their other, more abrasive albums, 'Wish You' grows over you like a wet cloak of its own dark making; it rises in shadows while hiding its wearer's countenance; it's all atmosphere, all the time. The woozy, slurred synths, bird calls, echo loops. For a band known for its no wave guitars, vulcan drumming and pagan chanting, Liars retransmits Gary Numan and Aphex Twin with their own left-hand designs. They drop the noise of their Art Punk past and go wildly into the night streaking Daft Punk, transmuting alabaster surfaces into echo chambers. 'Wish You' is a warm, brave and spectral beauty, showcasing--in the most singular fashion--Angus Andrew's most fragile of falsettos. As their first electronic album, it's 'Kid A'--but with all of the warmth and grandeur of 'In Rainbows.' And of all the albums I heard this year, this one came calling back to me like someone I had lost once but still loved. It dialed back to my phone, my car, my computer, and even into the dreams of the unseen. [100/100]
on November 24, 2012
Liars is one of my favorite bands, and with this album they show their creativity has reached no bounds. I agree with a previous reviewer that you'll either love them or hate them. If you're listening to them for the first time try these songs, which I find the most enjoyable of the album: Octagon, Ill Valley Prodigies, Brats, Annual Moon Words. Although really the whole album is a wonderful trip to a mood impossible to describe...but better to experience...