So far, this year has seen the hype train exit the blogosphere and stop by at every station along the way. Amongst its passengers, we’ve seen a variety of new meat – from well-loved West-coast hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, to the twee Manhattan-based outfit Cults. However, the buzz around these acts is dying down, and naturally people are looking for refreshment. Well, who better (or worse) to fulfil this need than the secretive, anti-propaganda Mancunian band WU LYF?
I know what you’re thinking – where on Earth did the inspiration for such a title come from? It stands for ‘World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation’, which, whilst sounding like some kind of rebellious Catholic group, is exactly the sort of nonsensical band name that gets teenagers animated these days. If you’re a fan of such hard sell, then it’s crucial to jump on board with this band and enjoy being wonderfully unaware of particular ascertained facts concerning the music within this record. If you’re the opposite, then consider yourself to be within a tasteful minority.
On first listen, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain is striking in its velocity, showing no signs whatsoever of consciousness or subtlety within the band. This blemished album displays a set of plangent, jittery tracks, metaphorically smacking the listener in the face and invoking a longing for liberation. Inside the music, this album features a tangled and ill-produced montage of instruments, which seem to be viciously fighting against each other rather than creating the layers obviously intended.
WU LYF’s debut eases listeners for a short moment with its mellow, transient organ sounds at the beginning of the opening track, L Y F, perfectly placed just to make sure everyone knows that this album was recorded in a church – dauntless, huh? Yet the tranquility is shattered with the yelping, rugged lyrical delivery taking hold, which would be reminiscent of early Modest Mouse were it not so desperate and tedious. Cries of ‘Love you forever!’ can be heard inside the chaotic rumble of sounds, and this line returns later in the album on Dirt, that track closing with a boisterous, full-frontal chorus loop of ‘World Unite! / Love you forever!’
Despite the futility of the band’s efforts to carry out some heavy concepts of religious iconography, brotherhood and togetherness throughout the album, the music remains upbeat and almost danceable, which is solely the record’s strength, and something they may have been partially aiming for. There have been comparisons linking this band to the likes of Arcade Fire and the aforementioned Modest Mouse, but they sound absolutely nothing like these bands.
Many differences are evident, but one thing that separates WU LYF is the seemingly drunken, teenage Van Morrison taking hold of the vocals. Although, with all their flaws and inadequacies, the music world is still open for WU LYF, and the band seem to have realised this with their heavy reliance on PR stunts and the like. After all, in a scene infested with vapid, featureless pop, so similar is their sound that the scheme of gaining fame through means of maintaining a reserved presence will keep them surviving in the industry when they’re at their least motivated.