The sublime Liela Moss returns with her third solo album, Internal Working Model, featuring guest appearances from Gary Numan, Jehnny Beth, and Dhani Harrison.
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 burns with a desire to reconnect.
“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 centralized culture, dismantling it and revising the way I think things work.”
A sense of controlled urgency emerges, fueled by the force of Moss's questioning insights. In part, it's an album about selfhood and certainties unsettled in today's dystopian theater, 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."
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, curious 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.