Following their handsomely received 2010 release, Sisterworld (Mute; 2010), Liars have coyly announced their sixth studio album, which is to be unveiled on June 5th of this year. Judging by the aggressively minimalistic aesthetic of both their Tumblr page, as well as their website, it appears that the album has yet to garner a working title.
Be sure to give the Tumblr page a spin, as it currently features a series of splendidly wacky and off-kilter clips using elements of their upcoming album, which has already created a stir of speculation among fans as to the direction the band is going. The untitled album was recorded in Los Angeles and self-produced by the band. Additional production was heralded by British music producer Daniel Miller of Mute.
For The Uninitiated
While indie rock iconoclasts are never in short order, punk experimentalists Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill, and Julian Gross of the Liars make full use of the term iconoclasm when they release a new album.
Open-minded listeners need not listen any further than their breakthrough avant-garde hit, Drum’s Not Dead (Mute; 2006), which largely helped define their standoffish disdain for conventional song composition, verses, bridges, and choruses. Yet, even despite their thespian, weirdo bravado, Drum’s Not Dead was indisputably brash, original, energetic, and electrifying in a way that only an ancient peyote-induced Peruvian shaman ritual might be.
If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll love the Liars. If you’re not, then you just might hate them. If the latter is true, this post is likely not for you. Bandname notwithstanding, everything about this punk triumvirate’s mutable anti-genre of music relays a guttural, instinctive truth, one that cannot be defined by words or logic or exposition alone. As a bemused Andrew once noted before:
“If we aren’t confusing people, it’s not us. If we aren’t confusing ourselves with what we do, then we’ve failed.”
As such, the temptation to approach the Liars as lazy and undisciplined is palpable — and if one did, they’d be missing the point. Experimental rock (i.e., post-rock, prog-rock, ambient rock, psychedelic rock, ad nauseum), often requires an acutely trained and acclimatized mind — more than the harrumphing traditionalist might think.
If you’re going to create unconventional landscapes of sound (using terrain unfamiliar to hordes of the everyday consumer), then you’re going to have to find unconventional ways of making it compelling. Here, you no longer have the luxury of formula to fall back on. It’s the unforgiving, thankless burden of the true experimentalist — their willingness to part with popular opinion and, despite their bottomless talents, risk the abyss of non-conformist hell. Namely, indie obscurity, where your only chance of recognition might, at best, be a posthumous wave of hipster-media accolades.
The “rules” of songwriting, of course, go hand-in-hand with the infinitesimal manners in which they’re broken. Radiohead, for instance, might not have ever ascended to the strange, alien acropolis of Kid A if it hadn’t been for their previous work, which prior to OK Computer, followed very strict songwriting tropes and unspoken guidelines (verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, etc.) Arguably, composition and the lack thereof are equally important and represent an ever dialectic relationship — the co-dependent Odd Couple that rely on each other in spite of their seemingly irreconcilable differences.
Albeit, fans may recall their 2007 album being self-titled. In fact, 2007’s Liars is an album that wary newcomers on the fence should check out if they want to be eased into their offbeat sound. In it, the Liars largely broke from their avant-garde snobbery to give us a walloping good time. Hey, they know how to have fun too when they’re not having fun for (or on behalf of) themselves, right?
“Bands that do what they want to do because they believe in it – and trust the intelligence of their listeners – are the future. That is the brave new world of Liars.”
The name of the new album is WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”). The new single, “No. 1 Against The Rush” (releasing May 29th) is used as the score to their WIXIW trailer on their official Mute YouTube channel; and will precede an 11-track LP. [Yes, their upcoming album has a trailer. A rather unorthodox method of promoting a music album, I must opine.] The track listing is as follows:
The Exact Colour Of Doubt
No.1 Against The Rush
A Ring On Every Finger
Ill Valley Prodigies
His And Mine Sensations
Flood To Flood
Who Is The Hunter
Annual Moon Words
Because I love my readers, I’ve kindly embedded the trailer below for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure, depending on which side of the music appreciation spectrum you travel from). As far as “No. 1” goes, the entire track can be heard at their official FaceBook page. Happy listening!
NEW SHOW DATES
Wed 6/20 – Webster Hall – New York City, NY
Fri 6/22 – The Music Box – Los Angeles, CA
Oh, and according to Angus Andrew:
“ ‘Wish you’ is a familiar and universal sentiment of longing and hope, but when misspelled becomes uniquely shrouded and difficult to interpret, which in many ways is representative of our music and the songs we wrote for this album […] The word being a palindrome offered us some comfort, and came from superstitious behavior that was the result of extreme uncertainty and doubt. The word and spelling struck us because it seemed to exude a special quality or power.”
Copy that, Angus. What would any self-respecting art-rock band be without a palindrome or two?
Featured image from BlueFat.com