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Ist Ist Reveal New Album “The Art Of Lying”
IST IST staked their claim as one of Manchester, UK’s most essential acts with their 2020 debut full length, Architecture, a record that struck an eerie resonance with the times and arrived like the sound of a new dawn for the City. Whilst that album was created as something of a labour of love for IST IST over a period of five years, its follow-up, The Art of Lying, is an altogether more instantaneous affair; a direct reaction to everything that has unfolded since.
An album of power-struggles and subterfuge, utopian ideals and dystopian regimes, across its ten tracks The Art Of Lying whispers tales of crumbling societies and corrupt governments; of truth and lies, love and death, oppression and resistance. Written and recorded throughout 2020’s multiple lockdowns, The Art of Lying would provide a welcome distraction from the global pandemic outside and a point of renewed creative determination for IST IST as they sought to build on the foundations laid-down by their debut.
Like a time capsule unearthed from the heart of darkness, its songs crackle and hiss with the frisson of that intense period. Written against a political backdrop that witnessed Manchester and Westminster locking horns over lockdown provisions, songs like Extreme Greed with its industrial synth-pop punch and the insurgent If It Tastes Like Wine find a strongly anti-capitalist narrative at play. It’s an album that also sees IST IST turn themes of existential crises into works of ethereal ambience and focus. The breathtakingly expansive album opener
Listening Through The Walls follows a protagonist who exists in an imagined reality whereby they are destined to live their life through others in a bid to find happiness; whereas the submersed electronic arrangements and oblique lyricism of Waves aptly captures that all consuming “underwater feeling” users of antidepressant medication will know too well. Sourcing inspiration from some of history’s darker corners, songs like the skyscraping Fat Cats Drown In Milk offers nuanced commentary of the unsolved Hinterkaifeck murders in 1920’s Germany, whereas the twisted love song Heads on Spikes explores the dynamic of a couple consumed by the ugliest of secrets.
Elsewhere, themes of alienation, Middle Distance, and unrequited love, Watching You Watching Me, are given an overpowering gravitas at the helm of Adam Houghton‘s trademark baritone and the sonic arrangements of a band reaching for the stratospheres. The collection sounds-out with the spine-tinging Don’t Go Gentle, an emotionally charged closer about saving a young woman from suicide. Paying reference to Dylan Thomas‘ immortal “Do not go gentle into that good night”,its complex arrangements and tender lyricism point to the ascendant progression of IST IST in the short time that has elapsed since their debut release.
The Art Of Lying is now available via Kind Violence Records / Scruff Of The Neck here. Following the release of their second album IST IST are embarking on a UK tour, including a sold out show at the Trades Club, Hebden Bridge and a hometown show at Manchester Academy 2.