Lié’s Consent is almost as infectiously listenable as it is disconcerting and nerve-wracking. At once, Consent manages to be a record that is as fun to listen to as it is politically and philosophically violent and confrontational.
Guitarist Ashlee Luk’s screeching instrumental wails at times read like White Lung-lite, buried only slightly further back in the mix than I’d like. “Casual Embrace” starts with a furiously rapid lead arrangement that only gives up during the bridges, where it twists itself into a dissonant arpeggio which is not quite as haunting as Luk’s vocal material. Like the other songs on Consent, “Casual Embrace” deals head-on with issues of feminism, sexual power, and subjugation. The album is not comfortable source material, which makes each track all the more engaging to absorb.
Consent sits firmly within an already saturated darkwave revival, but it would be hard to come across a better example, executed more firmly than with Lié. Strong and aggressive instrumentation, including an ever-present guitar scream and looming drum fills, keeps the nine songs on this LP steaming all the way towards the fantastic finisher, “Seams.” Post-punk fans in particular will find a lot to like behind the album’s relatively clean production, although the very modern amount of reverb on some tracks’ vocals sometimes has the tendency to cover up Luk’s naturally stellar singing.
Either standing as a punk record for goth kids, or a coldwave album for punk nerds, Consent manages to bridge the gap between ear candy and brain candy, providing both points to ponder and beats to stomp to.