Liars‘ music has drifted through styles with – and even within – each album. Tied together by an experimental attitude and singer Angus Andrew’s constant laments, they’ve succeeded in surprising while remaining familiar. Their stunning new album WIXIW is no exception. On “A Ring on Every Finger” they hint towards a heavy-hearted James Murphy club banger with Andrew singing over an echoing bass line:

Take a walk, look around
There’s a sucker to be found
all that heartache

Both lyrically and stylistically the song is an apt introduction to the album. WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”) provides ruminations on loneliness, poor attempts at love, and the crushing self-awareness of both as the band takes a DIY electronica approach that has earned all comparisons to Kid A (and perhaps justified Liars’ previous stint opening for Radiohead to those who found the pairing odd given Liars’ then punk aesthetic).

The title track is a stand-out demonstration of the album as a whole. Following a three-track daze of cool swagger beginning with singleNo.1 Against the Rush“, “WIXIW” opens with a two-minute intro that shifts into a brash feedback squeal, Andrew’s distaste taking center stage:

But you were not the hero
and I don’t want to know your names
Hollow life.

But Andrew’s depression is a bit more complex, a bit more contradictory than the layman’s, his frustration at ambling thoughts is felt through the hazy production:

Now I say it’s not enough
I wish you were here with me
I can no longer take it out
Wish you would not come back to me
Hollow life

The album’s best song, however, is the three-and-a-half minutes of grit and anger and spit and vile that is “Flood to Flood“. Musically, it’s reminiscent of a more dark and less hip tUnE-yArDs with layers of sounds, exploding bass lines and screeching synths. Both biblical and apocalyptic, yet utterly personal, the song contains Andrew’s deepest sentiments:

Tie me up in a red ribbon
Teach me how to be a person
Bring me breakfast after dinner
Keep the weekends for the people
Tie me down and I will seizure
Keep me home away from people

And with a simple line and resigned delivery backed by dancing guitars, Andrew puts the nail in the coffin:

I refuse to be a person

WIXIW’s success stems, like all good art, from the novelty of the emotions it generates. Liars take their work seriously, but still take the time to experiment, to play with their style. That fact is contained in the album too. On “Who is the Hunter“:

I never meant to run
I only blew my gun to watch which beast it aroused
Our fall won’t make a sound

Each part of the album – each song, each melody, each note – reflects a version of the WIXIW‘s lyrical themes. From the coaxing coo of “Exact Color of Doubt” to the early-Liars dance punk of “Brats” the band continually reworks ideas, building on their own work to reach higher and delve further down.