Liars - 'WIXIW' (UK Release: 4 June '12) // Words: Simon Opie
Liars have always produced singular records – whether somewhat obscure concept albums like 'Drum’s Not Dead' and 'They Were Wrong, So We Drowned' or the relatively back-to-basics 'Liars' from 2007. I’m never sure about titles that need explication but 'WIXIW' (pronounced ‘wish you’ apparently) is another challenge to the pigeonholers.
Certainly, Liars’ work betrays an Art School education in that each album is a project in itself, a finished article that is both complete and connected to its predecessors. 'WIXIW' is Animal Collective meets Kraftwerk and has a dense, synthesised musical texture with laid back vocals floating on the surface. Liars have toured with Radiohead and I can see where the comparison to 'Kid A' might fit, particularly on the title track ‘WIXIW’ and the slippery ‘Octagon’, but the album generally echoes the drum machine driven compositional approach that characterises all their music.
The blissful start of 'The Exact Colour Of Doubt' leads to a series of more rhythmically upbeat tracks, including the almost Kraftwerk tribute 'No.1 Against The Rush'. 'WIXIW' is sandwiched between the abstract 'Ill Valley Prodigies' and 'His And Mine Sensations', which could easily be a dance remix of the same song. The album closes with a run of nearly conventional songs of which throwback 'Brats' might have come from the sessions for the 'Liars' album.
I must confess, this album took me a long time to get into and though it carries a distinctive aura, the songs seemed submerged in the expression of technique. Gradually they’ve emerged and favourites like 'Who Is The Hunter' and 'His And Mine Sensations' have filtered through to my playlists. Nonetheless, the overriding impression is of a piece of work that is probably intended to be consumed in its entirety - handy for an ATP in 2016 or so, one might suppose. Above all, 'WIXIW' is a tremendously deceptive album and I guess from Liars you’d expect nothing less.
Find more info at liarsliarsliars.com. Purchase 'WIXIW' at Amazon.co.uk.