IST IST will release their second album ‘The Art Of Lying’, via Kind Violence records on 26th November.
Staking their claim as one of Manchester’s most essential acts with their debut album in 2020, ‘Architecture’ was 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 10 tracks ‘The Art of Lying’ whispers tales of crumbling societies and corrupt governments; of truth and lies, love and death, oppression and resistance.
“Whilst the record isn’t a concept album, the title ‘The Art of Lying’ makes reference to the post-truth world we live in.” explains Andy Keating of Ist Ist. “People put up barriers, literally and metaphorically change who they are to feel more included, government messages are increasingly indecipherable from propaganda and social media continues to blur the lines between truth and reality. At the time of writing and recording, the whole world felt like an unsteady place to be, with everyone sailing in uncharted waters. This is reflected in the urgency of the album, combined with the lyrical content and the title.”
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.
“‘The Art of Lying’ started out as various unrelated pieces and projects, kicked around remotely to occupy ourselves during the early days of the first lockdown in April 2020 to stay motivated and pass the time.” reflects Keating. “By the time we could begin to reconvene and rehearse again in the summer, it became clear to us that we’d written the foundations of a second album and threw ourselves into writing more. The uncertainty of the world we were in and with no external pressures of tour commitments meant we could focus solely on the album with such a unique motivation.”
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 to 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 1920s Germany, whereas the twisted love song “Heads on Spikes” explores the dynamic of a Fred and Rose West-like 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.
Mastered by Greg Calbi (David Bowie, The National, Interpol, Bon Iver), ‘The Art of Lying’ will be released on 26th November 2021 via Kind Violence records, in conjunction with renowned Manchester label Scruff of the Neck (who will service the album worldwide).
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Established in late 2014, Ist Ist have forged a formidable reputation on the back of uncompromising, intense headline shows at prestigious Manchester venues such as The Ritz, Gorilla and The Deaf Institute.
With a fierce DIY ethic and through word of mouth alone, the band charted their own destiny. Making their mark with the acclaimed debut EP ‘Spinning Rooms’ the band won over admirers from across the world and fans including Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6, who have supported ever since.
Through hard work and sheer determination, IST IST continue to plough their own furrow, building a growing catalogue and fanbase in the process. Releasing their debut album ‘Architecture’ in 2020, the LP found significant success in the Indie, Physical and Vinyl Charts upon release and marked the band out as one of the leading lights of an incandescent new era for music born in Manchester.
Following the release of their second album this November, IST IST will embark on a UK tour in the immediate weeks after. With a sold out show at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, plus a hometown show at Manchester Academy 2, catch the band at the following dates and venues as follows.
TOUR DATES – WINTER 2021
26 – BLACKPOOL, Bootleg Social
28 – HEBDEN BRIDGE, The Trades Club [SOLD OUT]
1 – BIRMINGHAM, Dead Wax
2 – LONDON, Camden Assembly
3 – BRISTOL, The Louisiana
4 – NOTTINGHAM, Bodega
8 – LEEDS, Hyde Park Book Club
9 – GLASGOW, Broadcast
10 – SHEFFIELD, Record Junkee
11 – MANCHESTER, Academy 2
Tickets on sale here: https://www.musicglue.com/ististmusic
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