You Want It Real
To say that Lié have been refining their style in the seven odd years the Vancouver trio’s been active would be a bit too genteel. Kati J, Ashlee Lúk, and Brittany West have instead been paring away at their sound, sometimes hardcore, sometimes deathrock, discarding all space and subtlety which might lessen the brute driving force of the band. With Lúk relocating to Germany to pursue techno work with Minimal Violence, You Want It Real arrives with the band’s future in question but their attack as sharp as ever.
Although the frenetic trade-offs between bass, guitar, and drums and those between Lúk and West’s vocals haven’t dramatically changed in the past few years of Lié’s live and recorded work, You Want It Real feels notably thicker and richer than its predecessors. Dialing back the distortion and pedalwork, the clustered jam-ups of “You Got It” and “Bugs” are perhaps less noisy than Hounds or Truth Or Consequences, but certainly no less loud. If anything, the clearer definition of individual elements stacked on top of one another makes it more apparent just how much stuff the band is cramming into sub-three minute compositions.
The political side of the band’s lyrics remains intact, but here it’s delivered through somewhat veiled personal metaphor. The exact nature of the betrayals and relationships pointed to in “Digging In The Desert” and “LSD” is never clear, even if the intricacies of power and dependence are tangible in them. The social mores and gender scripts of “Good Boy” and “Fantasy Of Destructive Force” similarly hang about, exerting pressure from all sides even while the band resist overt sloganeering.
If this is indeed Lié’s final missive, they’re exiting the stage with exactly the same furious agitation with which they stormed it. Free of sentimentality or indulgence, You Want It Real is another brief and uncompromising document.