The highly anticipated debut from the reclusive Manchurians, giving the new wave of Manchester scene a twist from the egos and personalities of the eighties and nineties comes with a very strong wave of hype behind the band. Yet maybe they are the same as the rest – they barely played outside of Manchester before the release, with the world having only just discovered their names shows you that they are all about the music, and frankly the mystery adds to the bands celestial sounds and tongues-like vocals. Can hiding ones faces and singing with your back to the stage in an attempt the remove the individual from the collective brilliance of their music, in actuality be the same swagger and confidence of Curtis and Hook, Morrissey and Marr, Brown and Squire, Gallagher and Gallagher and the rest? Even with their “disregard” for Manchester’s legacy.
WU LYF or World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation has unleashed a new level of primal romanticism on the musical world. The clean instrumentals, particularly the resonation of the high guitar sections give the music its other worldly beauty. In the case of the organ on L Y F the album wouldn’t be out of place if played in a church, so long as they removed the “Lucifer” from their name. Throughout the album these instrumentals give the listener a chance to feel exhilaration beyond the self in an expanse of sound showing the seemingly celestial origins of the music. This can be best appreciated on Such A Sad Puppy Dog and Dirt, both of which are full of resonance that cuts through the soul. Not that they are the exceptional compared to the album as a whole.
Combining the strongly contrasting primal otherworldly elation of the vocals and indecipherable lyrics with the clean perfect underlying instrumentals works in harmony and gives WU LYF a very strong defined sound. One which they don’t stray from on Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, but they have no reason to have too diverse a sound when that sound is so perfectly pulled off throughout the album. Although it has been said that Ellery Roberts’ voice is off putting, being so indecipherable and so far from the norm – which takes away from the bands beautiful playing. The accessibility and vibrancy of the instrumentation balances the composition out to a pint where the vocals are in no way unlistenable.
Clearly, WU LYF’s doubters have missed the beauty of the “tongues” like ambiguity of the vocals giving them a mystique as though of a higher spirituality, which WU LYF have enabled us to glimpse. Having lyrics which are less clearly universally understood or themed (other than We Bros about brotherhood) may give the listener more from a song emotively than one which has been clearly defined to mean it certain thing – in other works the listener can derive whatever they want from its ambiguity. With 14 Crowns For Me And Your Friends song which builds into a crescendo for four minutes the lyrics themselves do not take you in, but by the sound of the voice itself and the ecstatic jangle of the guitar. Not differing from the most downbeat sing in the record, Such A Sad Puppy Dog.
There is a slight problem with two of the songs to the end of the record, Concrete Gold and Heavy Pop, but because they were both brilliant – at least the singles released before they had been rerecorded for the album that is. The album versions are still particularly good; it’s just comparatively it’s a bit disappointing to hear a lesser version on the final product. The original version of Heavy Pop is an exceptionally powerful song, the best WU LYF have released and it is a real shame if it is not listened too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yW73ENT3w0.
The energy WU LYF are unable to contain, a ferocity that must be screamed at the world is an ever present spirit within the album. A soaring expanse of a song, Spitting Blood demonstrates their energy, along with a similarly themed video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDTEhWO2wyo. The same has to be said of Heavy Pop and actually nearly every song come to think of it. However, WU LYF aren’t ever going to be universally liked, by then the best bands never are, they are doing things differently. WU LYFs passion and want for change – or at less looking at things with a different perspective defines them musically, so it is of little important if people don’t get the music because there is never going to be a time where everyone agrees with a change.
The sense of the new wave, an alternative way of thinking or perceiving that is so clear and ingrained in WU LYF’s music is what makes greatness especially when it is misunderstood. For example the use of Lucifer in their band name – not to show their support of satanism but a presentation of an alternative view which the established good, may deem bad – when maybe it isn’t bad, merely an alternative to the conventional positions held by authority. As done by the original Manchester revolutionaries – Joy Division. WU LYF really do have some depth to the concept of their music, it shall be very interesting to see how they develop.
They are simply a mesmerising listen, full of soaring celestial expanses of sound combined with the exhilarating screaming savagery of the human voice – quite possibly revelatory in nature. A beautiful work to say the least. The birth of “heavy pop” (as they like to call their new genre) has come.
- Heavy Pop
- Such A Sad Puppy Dog
- 14 Crowns For Me And My Friends
- L Y F
Oscar B. Wilson