Album Reviews

WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

on July 07, 2011, 8:00am
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In an era where almost every question can be answered by the Google machine, it’s beginning to look like the most attractive stuff on the planet is that which is somehow kept secret. In recent months alone, Iceage, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and even the now infamous Odd Future have all crawled up from the dust collected between web-server circuit boards and made unlikely names for themselves. In each case, meticulous anonymity and cryptic–or just plain baffling–web presence seems to be the key. People like to feel “in on” something that’s purposefully trying to stay out.

Enter World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation, or as they are(n’t) known on the streets, WU LYF (pronounced Woo Life). Visit their webpage and you’d think they were the greatest music-rooted cult ever organized. What better web-greeting than the click-clacking, tribal rhythms and heaving organ of “Dirt” cued up perfectly with a fast-cutting black and white video of flag-toting protesters? All this under some pristinely arranged block type, including a clickable, streamable tracklist of the Manchester four-piece’s debut, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, each song with its own personal video clip.

So, we click onward and listen. From the get-go, opener “LYF”, the enigmatic record feels like an indie battle cry: The dancy post-rock of Wolf Parade, the epic grandiosity of Explosions in the Sky, some hissing organ fuzz, and the frenetic rhythms of Animal Collective are amalgamated as an unexpected, full-throttle landscape for Ellery Roberts’ primal growl. Most closely resembling Baltimore’s Future Islands and their equally out-of-place-but-still-fitting frontman Samuel T. Herring, Roberts at once stands out and blends in. Manically projectile vomiting his incomprehensibles over reverb-drenched warm tones, the guy makes Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner sound like Adam Levine. He’s yelling something fierce, even if we can’t understand it.

But the instrumentation is dynamic, powerful, and accessible enough to balance things out. Though it gets a bit repetitive at times–even with a laughable tracklist that includes hipster catchphrase song titles like “We Bros”–Go Tell Fire to the Mountain is all you’d pray would come from this back-asswards backstory. You may not find solace in every croaked lyric, but you might be slowly headbanging and chanting, “I’LL LOVE YOU FOREVER!” for the remainder of the summer. That or just throwing up everywhere.

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