Internal Working Model Liela Moss
Label: Bella Union
Subgenre: Indie Rock
Artist: Liela Moss
Album including Album cover
- 1Empathy Files03:57
- 2WOO (No One's Awake)03:01
- 3Vanishing Shadows03:36
- 4The Wall From The Floor04:11
- 5Ache In The Middle04:41
- 6New Day03:00
- 7Come and Find Me04:07
- 8Welcome To It03:58
- 9Love As Hard As You Can04:18
Info for Internal Working Model
Liela Moss returns with her third solo album Internal Working Model featuring guest appearances from Gary Numan, Jehnny Beth and Dhani Harrison.
Liela Moss announces the release of her new album Internal Working Model out 13th January via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To celebrate the announcement Moss has shared lead track “Vanishing Shadows” which features a guest appearance from electro-rock innovator Gary Numan whose vocal provides the perfect foil for the groove-driven intensity of Moss’ take on the malign forces that can distract us from our nature. Or as Moss puts it: “Numan’s vocals fly in on the chorus like an alien archangel offering a last chance to consider the state of play.”
“I’m trying to find a way to plug myself into a new community,” says Liela Moss of her third solo album. “I am imagining a tribe, navigating away from our very centralised culture, dismantling it and revising the way I think things work.”
After the haunting My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth (2018) and the dramatic, synth-loaded Who the Power(2020), Internal Working Model bristles with frustration at our disconnected culture but also – crucially – burns with a desire to reconnect: “We see the beneficiaries of the status quo suppress realness and wellbeing by selling you a banal alternative that upholds their agenda. I want to add to the firepower to burn that old house down.”
A sense of controlled urgency emerges, fuelled by the force of Moss’ questioning insights. In part, it’s an album about selfhood and certainties unsettled in today’s dystopian theatre, somewhat by the pandemic but also, says Moss, by the “self-seeking, self-protecting culture” of global economics where we have forgotten that “competition is just a construct, co-operation is actually the natural way of being… Lyrically, I’m laughing and yelling at surveillance capitalism, I’m throwing down sentences that reach out to simply feel good on good terrain, to feel safe on planet earth. There is turbulence, but an understanding that the urge to restructure is growing; human goodness cannot truly be suppressed.”
With Moss’ expressive voice leading the way over fractious synth backdrops, the result is at once tense and tender, timeless and timely; determined to plug into positivity wherever it can be found. “It’s like a carnival of good will,” says Moss, “we see the pretence, the masquerade. Then the realness, the love. That’s why the word ‘empathy’ comes up so much and rolls around amongst the most menacing synths. It cannot be kept down, no matter the weight.”
As Liela explains of the album’s relationship to Who the Power, “I wanted a more vigorous pulse, I wanted more movement. I wanted to feel friction and for things to feel emotionally disruptive this time around.” Also at its core sits Moss’ interest in attachment theory, the idea that the ways we are cared for (or not) in childhood forge the neurological pathways that build esteem, that shape us – and perhaps the world. “I started to think about the nefarious characters in globalist culture who have such a hold on what’s going on in terms of big pharma, big tech and big political everything. I was thinking, my God, these manipulative people started life needing to be attended to properly and probably were not! All this desperate greed and corruption winds back to maladapted individuals! Then I began seeing them as tiny, neglected humans with an unhealthy attachment cycle.”
The track ‘Ache in the Middle’ features guest vocals from Jehnny Beth. Feeling like the song wasn’t quite complete, Moss had offered it to Beth’s partner Johnny Hostile to develop instrumentally. “He asked for the lyrics, which was unexpected as I don’t think I’ve heard him sing. Then he said, “Jehnny heard it, she thought it was cool and decided to sing on it. If you don’t like it, she doesn’t mind if you don’t want to keep it, but she’s done this. What do you think?’ I was like, are you crazy? This is brilliant, this is an absolute gift. It’s one of those rare things where you get more than you expected. That doesn’t happen often, does it?”
Another guest appearance comes on the track ‘Love As Hard As You Can’ which features Dhani Harrison on a cathartic reflection on the “simple shit” one might do to feel better. “Love your friends,” says Moss. “Look after your neighbours. Listen to different points of view. Calm the anger. Be less grasping. Give things away when it’s easy to do so, and don’t worry about it. That’s sort of it, in the end.”
Internal Working Model’s creation evolved organically between Moss and partner/collaborator Toby Butler, who divided their time between work and parenting to make the album. Moss compares the process to a “slow game of cards,” the duo revealing their hands in a playful spirit. The “third brain in the room,” says Moss, was the modular synth: “You tweak it and it changes the energy. There’s nothing new in that technology, but in terms of the way we’ve worked for years, working with an anonymous synth brain was a new kind of freedom.”
In earlier years, Moss’ environs have included The Duke Spirit, the guitar band whose output ranged from brawling alt-rock to more cinematic ventures. Other outlets have included synth-rock project (with Butler) Roman Remains and various collaborative ventures – with UNKLE, Nick Cave, Giorgio Moroder, The Heritage Orchestra and Lost Horizons, among others. She also served as muse for fashion icons Alexander McQueen and Phillip Lim. That combination of self-possession, exploration and receptivity drives Internal Working Model. Personal and expansive, galvanic and inquisitive, it’s an album that sees the modern world’s mess through open eyes but isn’t willing to stop there: it wants to seek out solutions, source the potential in other ways of being and seeing.
With the Duke Spirit, collaborators including UNKLE and Simon Raymonde, and on her own, Liela Moss is a powerful and versatile singer. Her ethereal upper register and smoky lower tones work equally well with bluesy rock, electronic music, dream pop, or lush, string-laden ballads, all of which she explored on her solo albums, 2018's My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth and 2020's Who the Power.
During her teenage years, Moss was a die-hard music fan -- particularly of the riot grrrl movement -- but didn't begin singing until she was 19. While studying photography at an art college in Cheltenham, England, her flatmate Luke Ford recruited her to sing for the band that would become the Duke Spirit. The group recorded its bluesy 2004 debut album, Cuts Across the Land, with Simon Raymonde, beginning a lengthy creative partnership between Moss and the former Cocteau Twin. She embarked on another enduring collaboration by appearing on UNKLE's 2007 album, War Stories, and contributed vocals to the 2011 deluxe edition of their album Where Did the Night Fall (Another Night Out).
Following the release of their 2011 album, Bruiser, the Duke Spirit went on hiatus, and Moss used the opportunity to explore different projects. In 2012, she appeared on Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' soundtrack to the film Lawless. Moss and the band's bassist, Toby Butler, formed the electropop duo Roman Remains, which released a pair of singles in 2013 and the following year's full-length Zeal. Also in 2014, Moss performed alongside the Heritage Orchestra at a concert celebrating the work of producer/composer Giorgio Moroder at the Sydney Opera House. In 2015, she reunited with UNKLE for "Touch Me," a single that appeared on Global Underground #41: James Lavelle Presents UNKLE Sounds - Naples. The Duke Spirit re-formed in the mid-2010s, issuing a pair of introspective albums, 2016's Kin and the following year's The Sky Is Mine. In 2017, Moss also contributed to Ojalá, the debut album from Raymonde's Lost Horizons project, and appeared on UNKLE's album The Road, Pt. 1.
Moss began her solo career, which built on the somber direction of her band's later work, in the late 2010s. Recorded at her Somerset home with Butler producing, 2018's My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth put the focus on her vocals and drew inspiration from sources ranging from Emmylou Harris to Massive Attack's Mezzanine. For 2020's Who the Power, she worked at home with Butler once again, this time pairing vintage electronics with lyrics that tapped into folk traditions as well as 21st century political and ecological concerns. (AllMusicGuide)
This album contains no booklet.