“WIXIW” (pronounced “wish you”) is the sixth album by indie experimenters, Liars. It is ambient, arty music, weaving sonic textures in the spirit of Eno. Light percussion and ethereal soundscapes ease the listener into the album on opener “The Exact Color of Doubt.” This time around, the band largely eschews dissonance, embracing atmospheric and hypnotic soundscapes instead. There is no “Plaster Casts of Everything” on “WIXIW,” and, of course, there are no traces left of the dance punk from Liars’ debut album (that could have been a different band back then, for what it’s worth). But, neither are there any weak moments on “WIXIW,” as there were on the last two albums.
“A Ring on Every Finger” is mesmerizingly groovy, and the stunning title track is one of the most intense numbers on the album. “His and Mine Sensations,” the dark, electronic “Flood to Flood” and the quiet, menacing “Who is the Hunter” are fantastic pieces. Distorted vocals and an uptempo dance beat characterize the outstanding “Brats.” This is the album’s most energetic track, but it’s still miles from the proto-industrial noise punk of “Plaster Casts ...” The mysterious, but highly enjoyable “WIXIW” is concluded by “Annual Moon Words,” a wonderful piece of ambient rock that is over much too soon. By rights, it should receive much airplay. But it won’t. Liars may be far from an insider tip, but they will never reach the mainstream of radio-friendly music. One thing that is always refreshing about the band is how they reinvent themselves from album to album. “WIXIW” is by far their most satisfying release in a long time.
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