Liz Fisher moves beyond 'intense' relationship on new batch of songs from the rock foursome

The songs on In Memory, the new EP from the Cordial Sins, evoke yellowing bruises, lingering on emotions that are still pained, sure, but from which one has finally started to move beyond.

“For all I know my true love’s just ahead,” frontwoman Liz Fisher sings on the relentless, riff-driven “For All I Know,” a song where her gaze drifts from the wreckage in the rearview mirror to the wide-open roads ahead.

“Before I was with Corey [Dickerson], I was in a really intense relationship — I was very young, also — and it ended very badly, and then the person I was with passed away,” said Fisher, who joined Cordial Sins guitarist Dickerson for a mid-October interview Downtown. “And so it took me a few years to process what happened to me in that relationship, but also after it, too, and with the death. … It was realizing I had to let go of this whole period of my life that wasn’t all bad, but when you think of that time period it feels sort of not great, you know?”

The events that inspired In Memory, which was recorded with co-producer Maddy Ciampa at Studio Orange in Clintonville, date back nearly seven years, and Fisher said it’s not unusual for ideas to gestate for long stretches before finding a way to the surface, like groundwater filtering up from deep within the earth. “With songs, even when we’re writing them, I find I have to sit with ideas for a long time instead of forcing them,” she said.

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Both Fisher and Dickerson have long embraced music as a space for working through difficult emotions. “Growing up, I didn’t have a very good home life, but I could just go in my room for five or six hours a day and just play guitar, and that’s what I would do for years,” Dickerson said. “At the end of the day, I want to put how I feel into this form, and once I finally started doing that, it spiraled to where I am now.”

Within the Cordial Sins, it’s been a similarly continual process of the band members learning to drop their emotional guards, and each album has drawn the curtain back a little bit more. “For me, personally, it has taken several years, and it has taken this specific group of people we’re playing with now, for me to feel less emotionally guarded and also more willing to be open and forthcoming with my experiences through our music, as opposed to distancing myself and my own experiences from our music,” said Fisher, who will join her bandmates for an EP release concert at Rumba Cafe on Friday, Oct. 25. “I used to think that in order for the music to be accessible, or for people to really understand it, that you … had to make it general enough for people to be like, ‘Oh, that’s how I feel, too.’”

In actuality, Fisher said, the songs have become more universal and relatable as she has allowed more of herself into the music. This remains true throughout In Memory, whether Fisher is singing about the difficulty of burdening oneself with another person’s problems (“You Are a Weight,” a radio-ready guitar rocker that moves as if completely unburdened by the load in its title) or the reality that some people are better apart than together (the musically tender “Cruel”).

“When we did Only Human [in 2007], I feel like there was a sense … we were veering toward those personal experiences, but this one is just much more pointed,” Fisher said. “These are all songs that tie into what I was feeling at that time, and they’re also, not mantras, but things I try to keep in mind for myself now, lessons that will stay with me because they are important and they’ve probably made me a better person, and hopefully happier.”