Liars at Metro | Concert preview
Overcast electronics cloud the trio’s latest for Mute.
Deliberately confusing but somehow almost always worth the effort, Liars are easy to dislike but hard to forget. Following a critically lauded 2010 album, Sisterworld, the new WIXIW (“wish you”) has the kind of odd charms and subliminal infectiousness that make it likely for similar praise at year’s end. Where the trio’s arty tics could occasionally be off-putting in the past, the bicoastal band pumps up the jams on its latest with anthemic electronics and rave-worthy rhythms. What we get is a generous but thoroughly soaked-in-strange album. And you can dance to it.
Who are the Liars’ big brothers these days? Long defunct krautrock legends like Can or abstract electronic composers that aren’t worth naming? Forgotten ’80s underground dance acts? More likely Radiohead at this point, and not just because Thom Yorke has remixed them. Like those Oxford rockers, Liars think nothing of tossing dubby basslines against screeching, bleeping synths on the likes of the gothy “Flood to Flood.” The brief and shaky “Ill Valley Prodigies” hammers home the kinship.
Throughout, Angus Andrew fearlessly sends his voice into higher registers while sequenced rhythms bop along like Euro trams. His standout, spotlit vox on “Who Is the Hunter” is the stuff that makes WIXIW something special. All the while, the sparse synths and subtle house thump fit Liars like a custom suit.