Liars: WIXIW

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Liars

Album: WIXIW
Label: Mute

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Over the course of Liars’ career, it’s often seemed like the group abruptly changes its sound with every album. It’s true Liars have displayed a penchant to constantly tweak the formula, turning out everything from avant-garde noise to dance punk to twisted pop. But with WIXIW, the band’s sixth full-length, it’s clear that there’s been a method to this madness: Instead of mutating or evolving with each record, Liars have shown different facets of their identity.

WIXIW taps into several elements of past Liars records that should already be familiar to longtime listeners. An uneasy pop sensibility makes the album appear relatively straightforward—at least by Liars standards—on first listen. But WIXIW eventually opens to reveal cunning depths. Based heavily in electronics, be it the swooping ambience of “The Exact Colour Of Doubt” or the stretched-elastic low end in “His And Mine Sensations,” WIXIW settles into a sweet spot between the misanthropic avant-rock of 2010’s Sisterworld and hypnotic ’90s trip-hop.

That lands many tracks—such as “No. 1 Against The Rush,” with its warm, ’80s synth-pop simplicity, and the slightly discordant electronic organs in “WIXIW”—in the midst of an elegant tug-of-war, as Liars masterfully create an album that’s equally alluring and menacing. WIXIW isn’t a culmination or even a continuation of its predecessors, but a hint that Liars aren’t nearly as scattershot as they seemed. 

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