Liars: WIXIW

By Otis Hart, NPR Music

cover_liars.jpgI'm going to get this joke out of the way and then we can move on: WIXIW is the best Radiohead album since Kid A.

In all seriousness, when you listen to the new Liars album — as you will many times over the next week — imagine Thom Yorke's falsetto taking the place of Angus Andrews's less distinctive but no less effective voice amid the barrage of intricate electronics. Sometimes, it's almost as if Andrews is rubbing it in The Ponytailed One's face, like on "Ill Valley Prodigies" or the title track. These are the types of tunes disappointed Radiohead fans wanted on The King of Limbs.

The similarities shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Yorke's long been a fan of Liars, as he told NPR Music's Bob Boilen in this Guest DJ session, and the two bands toured together in 2008. Both groups love to experiment within the rock template, so much so that you never know what their next records will sound like. WIXIW (pronounced "wish you") is Liars' "electronic" record — and a darn good one, too. Whereas Radiohead basically mimicked their favorite U.K. bass producers on The King of Limbs, Liars' productions, aided by Mute Records founder Daniel Miller, don't sound of any particular time or place. I shouldn't need to tell you that's a good thing.

For those of you who've read this far and still pine for the dance-punk of 2001's They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, well, just skip to WIXIW's penultimate track, "Brats." You won't be disappointed.

WIXIW will be available to stream on demand from May 28 through June 4, 2012.