[Album Review] lié- Consent
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by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: December 1st, 2014
Label: That’s Cool Records

Band mates Ashlee Luk, Brittany West and Kati J conceived of and wrote the material for ‘Consent’ months before the Jian Ghomeshi/Bill Cosby debacles but, boy, talk about timing. They tackle the issues of rape and consent head-on, particularly in the song “Sorry”, where we are rather disturbingly put inside the head of a rapist. That is, we are left to draw the conclusion that he is a rapist, but he himself denies it, even to himself. “That girl was sick/That girl was weak/You had to get her on her knees,” he says to himself, as a way of rationalization. When he says, “So sorry,” you get the sense that he is not apologizing but rather pointing out to us that we don’t understand that his actions were reasonable and inevitable.

Although Lié recently stated that it is not their intention to be overtly political in their lyrics, they certainly do not shy away from social commentary on their debut full-length. “Capture-Bonding”, for example, deals with the Stockholm Syndrome, with the female protagonist considering her captor a hero and accepting that the torture that he inflicted on her was necessary. “Success” contemplates how some people will cheat, lie and f&*k to get ahead, but do so at a great cost to their own self-identity. It’s all heady stuff, and with West’s vehemently ferocious vocal delivery it adds up to a band that you simply can’t ignore.

Fortunately, Lié are not a band that you would want to ignore – their dark, driving post-goth punk rock is as stimulating to the ear as their words are to the brain. Despite the simple guitar/bass/drum arrangements, the listener draws satisfaction from both the precision of their execution and from the aesthetic distillation of anything extraneous or unnecessary. The music is invigoratingly raw and aggressive, matching the lyrics’ intensity perfectly.

Not to detract one bit from White Lung’s recent acclaim (they are fully deserving), but it is unfortunate that other Vancouver punk rock acts get overlooked. The combination of Kati J’s confident drumming, West’s muscular bass and Luk’s screeching but expressive guitar forms a powerhouse that should be enjoyed and recognized as part of Canada’s hardcore/post-punk elite.