Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “No. 1 Against The Rush” by Liars from the 2012 album WIXIW on Mute.
New York trio Liars have made a career out of being stylistically fearless, and on WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”), the band’s sixth album, they’ve leapt headfirst into a more electronic-based direction. However, like all Liars albums, the album’s sonic characteristics are often ineffable, and “electronic” simply means they’re playing with more synthesizers than usual. Recalling industrial and goth rock tones at times, it’s undoubtedly a new sound for the art-minded trio.
The first single from the album, “No. 1 Against The Rush,” is probably the album’s most accessible track, as well as the one most representative of their current sound. Led by a bleeping programmed synth pattern and Angus Andrew’s brooding growl, the track moves with a steady urgency that inhibits all of Liars’ best tracks. Building on this momentum, Aaron Hemphill’s array of synthesizers create a series of melodies that, while varying in texture, always result in a tensely emotive atmosphere for Andrew’s vocals. Intricately arranged and darkly appealing, “No. 1 Against The Rush” showcases the band’s talent for seamlessly melding textures into a coherent song while simultaneously claiming new ground for a band that has already taken more stylistic turns in 12 years than most bands ever will.
In case you missed Liars when the played played Neumos earlier this month, you can check out photos and read a review of the show on the KEXP Blog here and listen to their recent live in-studio session here. Be sure to keep an eye on their website to see if they announce any future Northwestern dates, and while you’re at it, watch the video for “No. 1 Against The Rush” here: