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REVIEW: The Walkmen - Heaven


By: Jeff Daily
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June 5, 2012
Liars latest album is titled WIXIW (pronounced "wish you") and it is not, contrary to NPR's claim, "the best Radiohead album since Kid A." On first spin it does remind the listener of Thom Yorke's gang of magicians because the songs are moody electronic introverted man machine music. The comparisons should end there. This is a different band with a different outlook.

Singer Angus Andrew is a less instantly recognizable vocally than Yorke. He sings like a man being swallowed by gadgets...or is that "swallowing" gadgets? Andrew's voice is in excellent form on this album. The backing music is just as solid. Liars have built a career around shifting their sonic focus from record to record. They've done that once again with WIXIW.

Single, "No. 1 Against the Rush," is motorik updated. The influence of Krautrock on this song is front and center. The driving beat is stolen Neu! and I love it. Andrew's vocal fluctuates between Iggy Pop's Berlin phase and a gauzy dreamland. The band never overplay or over produce the songs on this album. Guitars, synths, and drums are layered in such a fashion that when new sounds appear it seems as if they were there all along. "Brats" is a magic mushroom club jam waiting to bust out of an otherwise subtle album. When disco bass drum and fuzz synths hit ya, you don't say no. FIST PUMP. PELVIC THRUST. It's the most fun song on the album by a mile.

Liars will probably have to deal with the Radiohead shit from critics because it's so easy. The bands do share links, but Liars deserve to be listened and discussed as the very separate band that they are. All sorts of bands could be touchstones for songs here. "Flood to Flood" sounds like early Sonic Youth for instance, but I'm not going to claim this is the sequel to Confusion is Sex. That would be dumb. Liars have created an album of well thought out, inventively composed songs. Isn't that enough?

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