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Album reviews
You Want It Real
Release year:
Mint Records
08 May 2020 / by Esmée Colbourne (author)

Genres: post-punk, coldwave


In times of isolation, people often turn to music to reflect on or escape from the world around them. Lié - a Vancouver-based coldwave outfit - recently released their newest album You Want It Real, an album that feels practically tailor made for the currently moment of isolation and our collective loss of control. The three-piece’s introspective lyrics and harsh, cacophonous sounds can give the listener strength or drag them down into contemplation. 

You Want It Real is the band’s fourth full-length album and is their second release on Vancouver’s Mint Records, a signing which gave the trio a better reach for their music while still allowing them to hone their DIY sound. This collaboration has been incredibly successful, and thanks to the production work of Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung), this album’s pinnacle achievement is its balance of vocals on top of the ocean-wide levels of distortion. 

For all the harsh, feedback driven noise however, You Want It Real is a surprisingly funky album. Lié’s artistic grounding in techno can be heard throughout the album and their instrumentation brings a super danceable edge to the traditional post-punk sound. Who wouldn’t want an aggressive heartbeat underneath the low, introspective vocals, pressing bass and gloomy guitar riffs?

‘Bugs’ is one of the most memorable tracks of the album, feeling like a lesson on anxiety, with odd changes in tempo almost simulating the rise and fall of a panic attack. ‘Bugs’ seem to be a cycle of knowing; being hyper aware and also unable to stop thoughts that are cancerous and often internalized. Interestingly though, the song is not a pessimistic one but instead one that encourages letting go of worries when you can and to just ‘give it all a rest’.

The two singles ‘Drowning in Piss’ and ‘Good Boy’ both have a classic post punk feel - less distorted but still sarcastic, disorienting and somewhat violent. Vocalists Ashlee Luk and Brittany Wes’s harmonies are so emotive, and shiver inducing, especially the repetition of ‘I'm high’ on 'Drowning In Piss' and "good boy" on 'Good Boy, bringing a powerful urgency that the album needed.

The final track of the album, ‘LSD’, brings everything to a shuddering full stop with the exclamation of  “We’re still waiting on the dream”.  This sudden end leaves an empty silence and a sense of exhaustion from the intimacy of the entire album.

You Want It Real is an album based in unflinching reality. It presents struggle in a self reflective way, highlighting acts of melancholic indulgences, privileges and anxieties. Lié’s music creates a call to action to face power disparities while also being lyrically incredibly human. The trio recognizes that we all have worries, we all deal with destructive people and we all wish, to some extent, that we are stronger than we are.


Rating: 9/10


The author

Esmée Colbourne

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