New Audio: Liela Moss Shares Incisive and Propulsive “Come and Find Me”

Over the course of her 20 year music career, British singer/songwriter and musician Liela Moss has been very busy: She’s a co-founder of The Duke Spirit, whose output has ranged from brawling alt-rock and cinematic ventures. Moss with her The Duke Spirit bandmate Toby Butler are members of synth-rock project Roman Remains. And she has collaborated with the likes of UNKLE, Nick Cave, Giorgio Moroder, The Heritage Orchestra, and Lost Horizons among a list of others. Moss has also served as a muse for iconic designers Alexander McQueen and Philip Lim.

With the release of 2018’s My Name Is Safe In Your Mouth, Moss stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist. 2020’s Who the Power was a dramatic, synth-driven effort. Moss’ third album Internal Working Model is slated for a January 13, 2023 release through Bella Union. Internal Working Model reportedly bristles with frustration at our disconnected culture but also — crucial — 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.” “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,” Moss explains.

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.” 

Thematically, the album is in part an album about selfhood and certainties made unsettled in today’s dystopian theater, somewhat by the pandemic but also as Moss says 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.” The album is also rooted in 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 entire 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.” 

Sonically, the material features Moss’ expressive voice leading the way over fractious synth backgrounds to create something that’s tense yet tender, timeless yet timely; determined to plug into positivity wherever — and whenever — it can be found. “It’s like a carnival of good will,” says Moss, “we see the pretense, 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.” 

In comparison to its immediate predecessor, Moss says that she . . “wanted a more vigorous pulse, I wanted more movement. I wanted to feel friction and for things to feel emotionally disruptive this time around.”

Centered around Moss’ plaintive and yearning delivery paired with glistening synths arpeggios, skittering beats and a relentless motorik-like groove, Internal Working Model‘s latest single “Come and Find Me” is simultaneously sultry, forceful and menacing in a way that brings Peter Gabriel‘s Security to my mind. But the song is rooted in Moss’ incisive sociopolitical commentary and thinking. “The idea running throughout this track is that co-operation is natural, and competition is a construct,” Moss explains. “I’m trying to be the bigger man, always seeing . . .Using empathy as the guide, we could neutralize the bad guys. My favorite 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.”