Under Review



Truth or Consequences

Evangeline Hogg

Gothic, post-punk trio, lié, have already found their spot at the top of Vancouver’s dark and brooding music scene. In fact, they were one of the few bands I knew of before moving to this city. Their new full length LP, Truth or Consequence, is an excellent reminder that they deserve our full and undivided attention. With scalding social commentary on topics such as trauma and rape, coupled with the driving force of three seasoned musicians, the album is notoriously lié, and that’s a good thing.

The shadow cast over this album is much like their previous album Consent. However, they’re toying with a new angle. lié is often praised for their highly political lyrics and take no shit attitude, but they aren’t strictly here to stress what they stand for. There is a narrative in Truth of Consequence that adds layers of emotional turmoil and commentary on the destructive tendencies of which humans are capable. This is apparent since the main topic focuses on the conflict between one’s identity and ego.

With eight tracks banged out in less than thirty minutes, Truth or Consequence is a quick shot but it deserves a little time to process. The opening track “Pride” begins with lié’s familiar and sobering bass tone that grinds into Brittany West’s (bass / vocals) signature, somber talk / sing voice. “He’s got his body wrapped in you / Now let me hear, now let me hear you scream his name,” sounds less like a genuine request than a combative plea. “He’s your man, let him take what he wants” she groans, in a tone that is too dismal to be sarcasm. The song shifts, however. Kati J (drums) stomps out an intense beat accompanied by Ashlee Luk’s (guitar / vocals) wailing and energetic strumming. It’s sharp turn that also leads the lyrics, which have done a 180. “You’ve got him pressed against the ground / Now push him down, and let me hear him say your name.” The visuals are poignant and jarring.

Elements of ‘80s speed-punk flow through the third track, “Watching.” It harbours that lo-fi sound that is recognizable in all of lié’s music and it works well for them especially in these shorter bursts of fury and aggression. “Failed Visions” marches on with West’s thumping bass and infectious, yet jarring sound that gets you to the nebula of the album. Vocally powerful, with Luk’s backing screams joining in, “Failed Visions” is a fistful of primal goodness. The following song, “White Mice” is an ode to white privilege, and is especially cutting considering recent news headlines.

In light of other recent headlines, “Big Enough” holds no bars, giving an unapologetic look at rape culture. West and Luk, who both co-write lyrics, have created a song that chastises rapists with provides a message that is loud and clear. There is no excuse. What ensues after, in “I am” is entrancing. The murmuring echoes of a distorted guitar fade into the background as West softly whispers sharply and drawls her seductively impassioned voice. It’s cut sort, replaced with the expected, but anticipated piercing of a post-punk delight.


Kim Gray


Tintin Yang

Kim Gray began his exploration of textured synths and lo-fi vocals in his solo debut, Backseat Bingo. Released in 2014, the EP was a departure from Gray’s previous work with Skinny Kids, featuring songs largely concerning love and nostalgia packaged in a dream pop meets garage rock guise. Here, Gray returns with a more polished debut LP, giving the spotlight to drum machines, psychedelic bass rhythms, and of course, Gray’s own languid vocals.

The first track, “Perfume Ghost” is the catchiest track on the album, and arguably the most interesting. Gray brings it together with drum machines layered over a jangly guitar and a captivating hook. The lush textures pair with candid storytelling in Gray’s lyrics, coated in swooning sensitivity and playing with elements from slacker to fantastic.

“I Wish You Knew Me Well” is another highlight on the album and features well-mastered percussion and an infectious guitar riff. The song’s sparse lyrics are soft and Gray’s reverberating vocals glide in and out of the sugar-sweet production. Many songs on the album follow in a similar vein, in true slacker-surf pop style, simple and teetering on formulaic. Gray does take risks on songs such as “Tropical Low Life, where sampling, background vocals, and layering create an earworm to the tune of surf-pop with psychedelic undertones.

However, moments such as those are few and far in between on Perfume Ghost. Clocking in at 25 minutes, the album could have been cut down into a more coherent, shorter EP in order to keep listeners intrigued. What it lacks in variety, the album makes up for in its sincere lyricism, melodious synthesizer riffs, and experimental production.

The tunes on Perfume Ghost are best reserved for inevitable late night drives and winding down at home in the wee hours of the morning. Time moves slowly while listening to this album, and life seems to float by as if in an otherworldly dream. Gray propels forward a sound that he began to forge in his earlier releases and paves the way for even more luxuriant and textured songs in future releases. With the mounting finesse from his first release to his second, whatever comes next from this project will absolutely be greeted with intrigue and anticipation.