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LIA LIA is evicting her "Angst" on the title track of her new EP

10 November 2023, 13:00 | Written by Orla Foster

Chinese-German LIA LIA delivers "Angst", the title track of her latest record, taking aim at negative emotions with a punk spirit and whimsical vocals

With her latest single "Angst", Berlin-based artist LIA LIA declares war on negative emotions. "'Angst' is a big fuck you to anxiety, depression, and sickness," she summarises. "I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being sad. I just want to have fun!"

Indeed, fun plays a big part in LIA LIA's sound even at its most haunting. Her songs can feel like fairytales, mixing happy endings with macabre twists. Take last year's "I'm a Moth!!", a contagious slice of garage-punk which relished being on the margins, flitting around in the darkness while the butterflies of this world command all the attention. Better to be maligned than a fake version of yourself.

"Angst" continues the introspection, using a pick'n'mix attitude to genres. Ethereal vocals sit alongside ominous basslines, underscored by DnB flourishes and punk spirit. Picture a reboot of "All The Things She Said", but with an internal monologue in both German and English. It's as if LIA LIA's inner voices are so splintered, they won't even settle on a language.

The single is the title track of her new EP, part of a long-term quest to unpick the various seams of her identity. Growing up with a German mother and Chinese father, LIA LIA spent much of her early life drifting through different cities, never feeling she particularly belonged until a stint in Tokyo. Babydoll dresses, anime and a love of subcultures helped unleash her artistic vision, which remains cartoonish and playful even when probing her most self-destructive impulses.

Angst also delves into the feeling of being an outsider. "I ride my bike" is a song to play "in the hours after dawn until sunrise, while you’re commuting on a train, or almost falling asleep in the subway, looking out of the windows of a cab, walking the empty streets of a sleeping city," she says. Many of the EP's lyrics have a sinister glamour, whether she's rhyming "Mercedes" with "sadist" or listing her most intrusive thoughts as dispassionately as a to-do list.

"13" goes on to explore her rebellious side, with its tales of underage drinking and inappropriate suitors getting her barred from church, while closer "Am I Human?" sees her fully lean into the babydoll persona, searching for her own pulse and questioning what it means to be real. With its swirling synths and shouty cheerleader chorus it's the closest thing on the record to power-pop, a celebration of individuality which still draws on her core themes of dissociation and dread.

LIA LIA might write from a dark place, but there's an impulsive, fearless streak guiding her every step. While the EP is open about depression, she's anything but defeatist, following the twists and turns of fate wherever they might lead. In 2019 a chance text to a promoter led to an eleventh-hour support slot with Doja Cat, and she recently supported Duran Duran on their UK and Ireland tour, perfectly complementing the band's outlandish stage presence and refusal to conform to the dreariness of the everyday.

Yet for LIA LIA, showmanship doesn't mean disguising what you feel. She might drape her insecurities in a kitsch schoolgirl outfit or a tutu, but the songs still have to come from the heart. "It’s impossible to erase all the melancholy from my music, because I’m not pretending," she concludes. "Lyrics are a gateway to my soul. I can’t hide anything”. After all, you can only play dress-up with your emotions for so long.

"Angst" is out now, the title track of her brand new EP. Find LIA LIA on Instagram.

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