It would be easy and efficient to say that Liars latest album WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”) showcases the best of what you’d see from Radiohead on Ok Computer or In Rainbows, but that would give you an inadequate idea of how good this album actually is.
Opening with “The Exact Colour of Doubt,” Liars presents mellow synths and echoing reverb reminiscent of the New Age music produced by German electronic group Tangerine Dream. The songs “Octagon” and “A Ring on Every Finger” also continue the electro trend and bring with them darker sensibilities that conjure up images of early Depeche Mode.
The first half of the album comes across as a straight romp through the electronic landscape which is juxtaposed with the last four songs that usher in a sound that is more rock-influenced. One could mistake many of the songs on here with what Radiohead cut out in the editing room on any number of albums (the two bands toured together if that gives you any idea of how close their relationship is). While singer Angus Andrews does not hit the high notes as well as his colleague Thom Yorke (listen to “Who Is the Hunter”), he is able to muster the right emotions and pitch to perfectly complement each song be it a soft purr or a snarling growl.
“WIXIW,” the title track, is also its most outstanding. Starting out joyful and uplifting, it switches to a louder, more percussive presence (it definitely fills the room) two minutes in. The song’s position as track number six offers a nice segue between the smooth electronic and more rambunctious rock. For the dance inclined, “His and Mine Sensations” offers a nice dance rhythm as well as ample ground for remix opportunities.
Despite the obvious similarities and comparison, Liars has presented a work that stands uniquely on its own. WIXIW at once offers chill background music, upbeat rock tempos and dance rhythms.