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.