Liars
WIXIW


4.5
superb

Review

by John Darr USER (8 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2012 | 45 replies | 4,827 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Instead of hurling its rider off the tracks, WIXIW manages to make a smooth journey to the same depths and heights as the albums before it.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The fog comes
On little cat feet.

It sits looking
Over harbor and city
On silent haunches
And then moves on.

It has been said that poetry is the most difficult form of writing because it is the shortest. Every word gets scrutinized- there’s no space for flaws or purposeless detail. Carl Sandberg’s Fog is perfect because it succeeds such scrutiny; everything but the most essential is stripped from his description: setting ( harbor, city), metaphor (little cat feet, haunches), and plot/ direction (comes, sits, moves on). It’s this same bare-bones approach makes WIXIW Liars’ most approachable work to date.

Gone are the Sisterworld guitar freakouts or Drum’s Not Dead percussion assaults; any listener familiar with the Liars discography will quickly discover that WIXIW is the band’s quietest record. As for guitar, it’s not really here at all. Two measly tracks boast acoustic guitar, the only acoustic-sounding instrument on the record. Instead we’re left with drum machines and synthesizers. But instead of alienating and robotic, WIXIW’s techno-instruments are simple and purposeful. Instead of a gauntlet, Liars has created a pathway; WIXIW’s experimentation tends towards being interesting instead of challenging.

As you can guess, WIXIW is very much an electronic record. The repetitive looping and the steady beats are here; so are the vocal snatches and tweaks. And yet Liars has always had a profound ear for dynamic interest. Just before a sound or mood wears out its welcome, something snaps into a higher gear, shifts, or drops out entirely. During the first half of title track, a swirling organ line and a simple drum beat back Angus Andrew’s drawn out vocal lines, slowly intensifying until the organ spirals down into isolation. It then crescendos as other textures begin to form, swelling only to drop out entirely. After a couple seconds, the organ and drums crash back in, far more threatening than before. Out of a very few instruments, Liars crafts an entire range of energies and tones in each song, never allowing any one idea to be overused or to remain static. While WIXIW never reaches the loudness or speed of other Liars records, it doesn’t have to- there’s so much variation in each track that even the understated often feels extreme.

This contrasting trick takes WIXIW to extraordinary heights for without ever having to take obvious leaps. Take the opener The Exact Color of Doubt, which shimmers in a peaceful, beautiful web of electric guitar and synthesizer pads. Stumbling reversed snare hits bolt the atmosphere to the ground until the simple addition of lilting, steady hand claps allows the entire track start floating into space. And in its last minute, Liars rebuild single No. 1 Against the Rush into a malfunctioning machine starting with a single new percussive synth riff.

And yet while its songs shift and transform, the album as a whole is much more focused. Every song sounds relatively similar- icy synthesizers, clicking drum machines, Andrew’s subdued vocals. The smooth transitions between tracks augment this feeling of cohesion, which during WIXIW’s weaker moments threatens to turn into ‘samey-ness’. Much of the record is dark; whenever major chords hit, they function as breaths of fresh air and glimmers of hope. But there’s enough light to prevent WIXIW from turning into something overwhelming. His and Mine Sensation functions as a mid-album grasp at ignorance as bliss, and the peaceful, almost campfire-song-esque closer Annual Moon Words is a beautiful departure back out of WIXIW’s frame of mind.

Liars have managed to create an album that’s both intensely focused and relentlessly dynamic. But instead of hurling its rider off the tracks, WIXIW manages to make a smooth journey to the same depths and heights as the albums before it. It’s the Liars record that strips away the most abrasive qualities of the band, leaving an accessible core. And in this case, like a great advertisement said, less is most certainly more.



Recent reviews by this author
Ex Cops True HallucinationsDeadmau5 >album title goes here<
Frankie Rose Interstellar120 Days 120 Days II
Palpitation PalpitationLil B God's Father
user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
derho (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool review for a cool album. I wouldn't say it's their most accessible record to date, though...

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

IrrationalAnimal
August 23rd 2012



73 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. This was the first Liars album I heard that didn't appear to be fighting me off half of the time- definitely the one I found easiest to listen to.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, but I guess it depends what you're into. Someone who likes the abrasive guitar work on their early albums, but who doesn't listen to much electronic stuff might feel completely different.

Oh, and for the best effect: this should be listened to in the middle of the night in the dark. Such creepy stuff.

wabbit
August 23rd 2012



6988 Comments


I really dig this. It sounds a lot like tkol but that's not a bad thing.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2012



2714 Comments


I found this album a little so-so when I first heard it. This review makes me want to go back and check.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Go back, it's worth it.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2012



2714 Comments


I must have been in the wrong mood first time round, it's pretty chill. Really well produced, too: the percussion sounds awesome on headphones. Thank you John + Mr. Clercq

IrrationalAnimal
August 23rd 2012



73 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

glad you like it. quite honestly i found it somewhat boring (fantastic background music basically) at first and only dug a ring on every finger, the opener, and the closer. but there's just a lot more going on if you even pay half attention to it.

kitsch
August 31st 2012



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

aoty bitches

didnt "get it" at first but now i think its their best yet. first album that was a grower for me in a long time.

this has been in my car spinning on repeat for like a month

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still think their debut is the best. This rules though.

kitsch
August 31st 2012



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

debut??!?

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah: 'They Threw Us In a Trench, yadayada'

kitsch
August 31st 2012



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah i know what the debut is called, but how could you think that is the best?

like every album theyve made is at least 50% better than that one

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Idk, personal opinion or how do you call it. I mean, I like most of their stuff about evenly, but that one just "feels" the most exciting, accomplished, unpolished, what have you. I'm bad with words so I can't really explain it other than saying I think it rules the most.

chambered49
September 1st 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

dling this now and going for a blunt ride b back with a verdict!

chambered49
September 2nd 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

dear christ this warrants like 10 listens

chambered49
September 7th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

SO GOOD

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



6438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man you must be seriously tripping on this. Can't blame you though. Have you checked out their other albums?

chambered49
September 12th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah this is so awesome

MrHorrible
September 24th 2012



19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic album. Not as into their earlier guitar stuff I've heard except for a couple songs, but this is pretty great all the way through.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy