Having caused a stir in the global underground since their inception back in 2013, lié (pronounced “lee-ey”) have readied their fourth LP ‘You Want It Real’; a devastating post-punk assault wrapped in a hardcore kick to the gut. Like Savages and METZ starting their own demolition company, the Vancouver trio don’t do subtlety, nor do they do nuanced, theirs is the sound of mangled guitars gyrating up against ground-shaking drums and bowel loosening bass. On the surface ‘You Want It Real’ is a blur of mechanical rage but the smallest dip below the surface unearths a fleshy ball of contorted frustration and emotion.
Over the past 7 years lié have become renowned for speaking up against rape-culture, privilege and patriarchy. For LP4, the three piece have opted to leave a lot of their lyrics open to interpretation or as guitarist and vocalist Ashlee Luk explains “part of the shift away from the direct lyrics of previous albums is also in part to encourage the listener to focus on the music as well, not just the lyrics. When people focus too much on the lyrics it tends to overshadow the musicality which I think should speak for itself, especially on this album. That being said, this doesn’t mean any less care was taken in constructing the lyrics, quite the opposite actually, more that there has just been an effort to focus more on imagery and flow.” This is where you get the volcanic swarm of ‘Bugs’, a song on the brink of collapse and one that roars with a frantic nervous energy, that has Lux barking “you might as well be dead”. The vividly titled ‘Drowning in Piss’ wiggles and writhes with a dancey- post-punk awkwardness, one that’s bestowed with a staccato groove. Not content with ‘Drowning in Piss’, Lux can be heard howling “I’m covered in shit/I want money/I’m selling you out.” The brutality and darkness found at the core of ‘Digging In the Desert’ sees Lux projecting her disdain at someone that’s “so righteous” as a potent mix of agit-punk and grinding machine gears creates a harsh and unforgiving soundscape. The rather aptly named ‘Fantasy of Destructive Force’ spasms with a clenched fist aggression, while it holds one of the least opaque examples of lyrics found on ‘You Want It Real’, “why so hostile/don’t you need me anymore?” sardonically declares Lux, like someone attempting to defuse an unwanted confrontation. lié’s latest album is closed off by the tightly wound rusted spring of ‘LSD’; it’s here where ambiguous lyrics are given the heave-ho, in favour of calling out the more toxic of male species, while taking aim at vacuous consumerism at the same time “I need more possessions to feed my masculine disease.”
‘You Want It Real’ is a product of the time it operates in; aggressive, confrontational and frustrated, it’s a cathartic listen for those disenchanted with the world.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
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