New Liela Moss Album “Internal Working Model” Out Today

“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.”

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.

Acclaim for Internal Working Model:

“Moss consistently retains her pop power and dazzling songwriting prowess. ‘Internal Working Model’ will crash out of your speakers, a melodic behemoth of industrial-tinted art pop.” Clash – 8/10

“A passionate plea for empathy and reconnection… Striking sonics match her for zeal and daring, gargantuan, sometimes retro-futurist grooves vying with layered vocals and dark soundscapes… A record of rare ambition and thematic complexity.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Moss rages at the world’s iniquities over retro-synth grooves on ‘Vanishing Shadows’ with Gary Numan on guest vocals, and sketches an empathetic prescription for our ills on the hauntingly tender ‘New Day’. She’s angry, but she’s trying to offer some answers too: more power to her for such positivity.” Uncut – 7/10

“An impassioned career high from a committed, commanding voice.” Record Collector – 4 stars ****

“Vanishing Shadows finds her silver vocals decisively leading the way over fractious synth backdrops, while more mellow melters like New Day are fuelled by the force of her questioning insights. This is Moss at her most switched-on.” DJ Magazine

Liela Moss Debuts “Come and Find Me”

Next week sees the release of Internal Working Model, the much-anticipated new album from Liela Moss, via Bella Union. Ahead of the release Liela today shares her new single, “Come And Find Me”, from the LP. Commenting on the track Liela says: “The idea running throughout this track is that co-operation is natural, and competition is a construct. “Iʼm trying to be the bigger man, always seeing” … Using empathy as the guide, we could neutralise the bad guys. My favourite lines are these: ‘This should be embodied dream space, should be free space, should be fair. That’s all’. I mean, that is all, right?! It’s such a rhythmic track, and the synth arpeggios layer up in a way that adds electricity and force to the ideas in the song; resistance against obstacles to fairness.

Early acclaim for Internal Working Model:

“A passionate plea for empathy and reconnection… Striking sonics match her for zeal and daring, gargantuan, sometimes retro-futurist grooves vying with layered vocals and dark soundscapes…

A record of rare ambition and thematic complexity.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Moss rages at the world’s iniquities over retro-synth grooves on ‘Vanishing Shadows’ with Gary Numan on guest vocals, and sketches an empathetic prescription for our ills on the hauntingly tender ‘New Day’.

She’s angry, but she’s trying to offer some answers too: more power to her for such positivity.” Uncut – 7/10

“An impassioned career high from a committed, commanding voice.” Record Collector – 4 stars ****

“Vanishing Shadows finds her silver vocals decisively leading the way over fractious synth backdrops, while more mellow melters like New Day are fuelled by the force of her questioning insights.

This is Moss at her most switched-on.” DJ Magazine

Liela has also announced news of two upcoming live dates in the week of release, performing at the Prince Albert in Brighton and at Rough Trade East in London. Dates / info below:

Tuesday 17th January – Brighton – Prince Albert

Wednesday 18th January – London – Rough Trade East in-store

“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.”

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.

Liela Moss Shares “Ache In The Middle”

With her new album Internal Working Model due out 13th January via Bella Union, and having previously shared the track “Vanishing Shadows” featuring Gary Numan, today Liela Moss shares her new single “Ache In The Middle” featuring Jehnny Beth. The track comes accompanied by a dreamlike video which can be viewed below.

Commenting on the track Liela says: “I was working with Johnny Hostile on extra instrumentation for this track, when he sent it back with a middle 8 vocal section written and sung by his partner Jehnny Beth. He emailed saying she loved the track and hoped I didn’t mind her spontaneous contribution?  This was a real gift, some unexpected beauty. The track crystallises my thoughts about some of my own childhood, ideas about attachment and my recent work with Children’s Social Care. Jehnny Beth must have somehow understood where I was with this personal process, because she jumped straight in with a complimentary lyrical flow.”

On the video Liela adds: “The video reflects some of my glitched and slowly fading childhood memories, and the weird, uncanny aloneness I would experience when regulating my feelings as a little kid. People, spaces and animals take on this huge symbolic value and radiate with security, when you are very young, and searching for that safety.”

“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 thepretence, 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 inattachment 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.”

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 theenergy. 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.

Liela Moss shares “The Individual” remix

With her new remix album Who The Power (Reformed) out 26th March, via Bella Union, and having previously shared UNKLE’s remix of ‘Atoms At Me’ and Emika’s remix of ‘White Feather’, today Liela Moss shares Johnny Hostile’s brooding and cinematic remix of “The Individual” from the LP. Of the remix Moss says: “The Johnny story is just great. I contacted him because I am a fan of his work with Jehnny Beth but also his various other production work. And he was so swift to reply, so friendly and inspiring to communicate with. And it turns out we’d met years ago and had this sense of communality straight away, stories to swap and stuff we were laughing about on emails immediately. He then spun the track into this sinister gold; I just love the deconstruction that took place and the subtle menace that permeates the track. It is so fitting for the times. I feel so lucky to hear my track through this Johnny Hostile filter. Amazing.”

Other remixes include Berlin’s Future Beat Alliance taking on album opener ‘Turn Your Back Around’ with hypnotic beats, producer Verlos giving ‘Always Sliding’ a minimalist electronic wooze, and Bella Union label mates Penelope Isles throwing lo-fi drums and fuzz at ‘Nummah.’ The Horrors’ Tom Furse takes ‘Battlefield’ into spinning electronic undercurrents, Dhani Harrison throws fuzz and glitch at ‘Suako’, and Moss’s producer Toby Butler rebuilds ‘Watching The Wolf’ with dark menace under his IYEARA moniker. Bella Union’s own Simon Raymonde gives album closer ‘Stolen Careful’ a complete country soul-overhaul, conversely taking the electronic out, and putting the band back in with his Lost Horizons project.

Of the album Liela Moss adds: “The process of connecting with other artists who are my friends, or people whose work I admire, during a time of physical and creative restriction was massively energising, and a privilege that I think could only have happened because of the insane reality that was occurring, that musicians were at home with nowhere to tour.”

Critical acclaim for Who The Power:

Who The Power’s choruses ascend the stratosphere, the percussion booms and melodies have a stadium-friendly reach.” MOJO

“There’s an urgency to these 10 songs, with Moss embracing the 80s goth sounds recently favoured by Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen, with propulsive electronic beats underpinning her biting lyrics. It feels like a very contemporary album, succinctly unpicking our shared worries over the state of the world.” Uncut – 7/10

“Her second album’s a cracker. It’s got tunes like gangbusters, it’s got heavy-duty synths, it’s got drama, it’s got thumping great drumbeats… In short, it lives up to it’s title.” Metro

“Turn Your Back Around is a fantastic opener, racing along over firework drums, while album closer Suako is driven by propulsive beats and jittery synths. The new digital backdrop suits a voice that could never be drowned out.” Evening Standard

“The lead singer of The Duke Spirit returns with her second solo album… and what a collection of synth-driven mini-dramas it is.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“A strong sense of urgency and emotional directness drives the second solo outing from the Duke Spirit frontwoman… A striking blend of self-confidence and impassioned, uncompromising insights.” Daily Mirror 

“The 10 songs here are powerful, moving and lyrically insightful… An accomplished album.” HiFi Choice – 4 stars ****

Liela Moss announces remix album

Following on from her acclaimed second solo album “Who The Power”, released last August, Liela Moss today announces Who The Power (Reformed). Released 26th March via Bella Union, the album is a full remix version of “Who The Power” by some of Liela’s close friends, collaborators, and artists she admires. To mark the announcement Moss has shared two tracks from the album. James Lavelle’s UNKLE place ‘Atoms At Me’ firmly in the club whilst Berlin-based electronic artist Emika takes “White Feather” into a minimalist arena, conjuring up Steve Reich and Max Richter.

Other remixers involved include Jehnny Beth collaborator and producer Johnny Hostile who gives ‘The Individual’ a brooding building cinematic twist while The Horrors’ Tom Furse takes ‘Battlefield’ into spinning electronic undercurrents. Dhani Harrison throws fuzz and glitch at ‘Suako’ and Moss’s producer Toby Butler rebuilds ‘Watching The Wolf’ with dark menace under his IYEARA moniker.  Bella Union’s own Simon Raymonde gives album closer ‘Stolen Careful’ a complete country soul-overhaul, conversely taking the electronic out, and putting the band back in with his Lost Horizons project.

Other remixes include Berlin’s Future Beat Alliance taking on album opener ‘Turn Your Back Around’ with hypnotic beats, producer Verlos giving ‘Always Sliding’ a minimalist electronic wooze, and Bella Union label mates Penelope Isles throwing lo-fi drums and fuzz at ‘Nummah.’

Of the album Liela Moss says: “The process of connecting with other artists who are my friends, or people whose work I admire, during a time of physical and creative restriction was massively energising, and a privilege that I think could only have happened because of the insane reality that was occurring, that musicians were at home with nowhere to tour. With UNKLE, I had been missing their live shows so much and wanted to feel connected to the tribe. Calling James and reminiscing about the last tour we’d done across thousands of miles in Russia, I just wanted him to take my track and alter its personality, reorganise it so it would be a grand, danceable soundtrack to some of his mad live visuals. In the case of Emika, it was she who found me, really. A friend of hers kept encouraging both of us to work together. We had been yearning for the spirit of collaboration to materialise during the pandemic, and we were drawn towards each other’s work to exchange what we had to give. She is classically trained, digitally skilled to the max, insanely talented… I sang on some of her new material and she remixed my track. A total privilege.”

Happy Release Day Liela Moss

Happy release day to Liela Moss who releases her electrifying new LP ‘Who The Power’ today 🙌 Get up and dance to this album of questioning intensity and synth-loaded drama. Listen/order here.

“If you’re going to deconstruct the modern psyche,” says Liela Moss, “you might as well dance to it.” On her second solo album, Who the Power, Moss fulfils that remit with all the power its title calls for. After 2018’s deeply personal My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth – a debut solo album at times serene, at others stormy, on every front sumptuous – Moss entered a period of profound creative and personal self-reflection. When she emerged, she forged an album of questioning intensity and synth-loaded drama, with the expressive force in her voice refuelled by the urgent desire to interrogate the role of selfhood in fraught times. And, crucially, backed by the urgent grooves needed for the job.

As Moss says of her feelings during the build-up to the album: “To make music for the sake can sometimes feel like a narcissistic thing to do, and very reflective of our times. So much of being a musician and live performer is about projecting energy outward, which can be a beautiful and powerful thing. I experienced a good round of that over previous years, and now wanted to explore my fears of tipping the scales the other way: why should I continue to re-enact the narcissistic habits of our generation, desperate for validation, desperate for space, for ‘a platform’?”

With Moss’ new life as a parent at a time of ecological and political upheaval also very much in mind, she entered a period of “hardcore self-enquiry” that included a return to a 10-day stay at a silent Vipassana Meditation centre. Determined to avoid “content for content’s sake”, Moss’ intent was to cleanse her palate and anatomise her motivations to make music. “Fucking about with some demos to justify my existence,” she says, “was not an option.”

Duly, evidence of “fucking about” is notable only by its absence on album opener “Turn Your Back Around”, a yearning eco-lament set to banked synths over a propulsive beat. Or, as Moss puts it: “One filthy, upbeat, downhearted, close-your-eyes-and-dance-by-yourself pop song, offered as a parting gift to Mother Earth.” “Watching the Wolf” is another forthright song for today, its brooding, near-gothic swagger framing a righteous modern-day folk tale about wolves converging to unseat a toxic political pundit. A controlled rage shows in Moss’s voice, which grows more liberated still amid the simmering darkwave throb of “Atoms at Me”, where Moss issues a call to free the senses from the call to consume. 

That sense of freedom further shows in the album’s dynamic focus and passion. The near-ceremonial “Always Sliding” draws power from the idea of impermanence, from the call to “keep searching”. “The Individual” sets a Paradise Lost-ish narrative to a sulphurous bass-line and lunging synths, while the graceful synths and infectious melody of “White Feather” frame lyrics with teeth. “‘White Feather’ is a lament for the earth, sung with fingers crossed behind my back,” explains Moss. “Humanity is losing connection with something vital, and willingly letting itself slip into an abyss. This isn’t as simple as my reaction to the distressing reality of environmental damage; it is my thoughts on our lousy behaviour to one another.” 

Elsewhere, the moody elegance of “Battlefield” and bruised plea of “Nummah” rank among Moss’s finest vocal performances – tall praise. “Suako” offers pulsing synth-rock impetus to risk starting anew, while the blissful “Stolen Careful” ends the album on a palpable note of revitalisation, all risks rewarded as Moss emerges refreshed in her hunger to explore new, meaningful ways to engage with the world.

As with the widely acclaimed My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth, that engagement took place close to home. Working again with partner/producer Toby Butler, Moss wrote and recorded the album in their studio in Somerset, where they live with their child. The difference this time, she explains, was a desire “to create something more urgent”, which captured a sense of renewal while conveying a strong sense of despair at modern culture. “Perhaps that oscillating energy is best expressed musically via machines. We spent much of our time playing with vintage synths and drum machines, building a more visceral palette. I wanted the album to convey a depth of field, to be multi-layered yet feel simple, and to groove.”

Widescreen ambitions fulfilled, the result is another bold leap forwards for one of alt-rock’s most magnetic, exploratory voices. Over 14 years, Moss’s work with the Duke Spirit (on pause) ranged from brawling riff-rock to more cinematic ventures. Other gigs have included synth-rock recordings with Butler under the name Roman Remains and various collaborative ventures – with UNKLE, Nick Cave, Giorgio Moroder and Lost Horizons, as well as serving as muse for fashion icons Alexander McQueen and Phillip Lim, among others.

If My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth offered a haunting snapshot of Moss’ restlessly intuitive instincts, Who the Power repurposes and refuels those instincts, standing as fertile testament to the potential in Moss’ self-possessed yet receptive way of working. As she puts it, “My offering is only mine. It lacks ubiquity. Crucially, it doesn’t seek to rob from others. In actual fact it only has to feed three mouths, under the shelter they need, and provide enough time to nourish their minds so that they can in turn be in the productive service of others. It doesn’t need to win to succeed. Just to be understood for what it is, is enough.” Now that’s a beautiful and powerful thing, indeed.