- Responding to Roger Ebert’s reviews
- T/F Film Fest
- About Vox
The music video for Liars’ lead single, “No.1 Against The Rush,” feels like something that belongs in Ryan Gosling’s Drive from last year. The same pulsating electronic beat and indecipherably fuzzy vocals. The same nonchalant violence.
The same draw to a moody and adolescent audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Ha Ha)
Now in all fairness, this is my first Liars album. My judgment is free from the influence of how their sound has progressed since They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (2001) or Sisterworld (2010) — if there’s a special club of fans who hold the secret of the meaning behind the angsty wailing, I’m not a member; if there’s an IQ test required to enjoy their music, I haven’t passed it.
It just seems like the three members in Liars are trying too hard to be different. And it explodes as a grenade in their backyard. Starting with their choice for an album title. I mean, WIXIW (translated: “wish you”). Really?!
“Brats” is an incoherent cold mess of static and buzzing and grieving. “The Exact Color Of Doubt” is slower than a whale’s mating call, more suitable for the last track, but inexplicably set as the first.
As Tiny Mix Tapes reports, the Brooklyn-based experimental rock group wrote this album while holed up in a cabin in the woods. As Walden did for Thoreau, WIXIW is a practice in meditation; of discerning the subtle gradations in pitch. And at times, after a requisite number of listens, certain songs do take on a refreshing quality.
“Octagon” is hands down their best song on the album. If you were to take a Jackson Pollack painting, melt it down into a syrup and feed it into Pro Tools, it might sound something like the driving bass and unpredictable dribs and drabs of melody.
The title track is another song worth buying separately on iTunes.
Because every other music review has rambled on about how heavily WIXIW borrows from Radiohead and how lightly it borrows from Beck, I won’t waste any keyboard juice other than casually mentioning it. As much as Liars might have wanted things to turn out differently (recording dripping rags and deflating balloons, videotaping a rotting banana), there is nothing new offered here. The salad bar is stale. If you’re looking for weird, there are better places to go.
Or quite possibly, maybe I just don’t “get it.”
VOX rating: VV
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