Release Date: Sep 6, 2011
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Review Summary: "Now we are so happy, so happy to say/ Awh lawh tha keeshaw la woo laak thisay" You music lovers, accused elitists, discerning consumers, you think you have it all figured out. I know. I think so too. You and me, we’ve heard everything. What, with our comically oversized libraries ….
While the initial allure of WU LYF may have been wrapped up in the fact that there were no names or faces to put to the music, the Manchester foursome’s debut album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, does not disappoint. The stark contrast between frontman Ellery Robert’s guttural, yell-sing vocals and the squeaky-clean instrumentation not only works harmoniously, but also creates a distinct and commanding sound. With 10 whole tracks to marvel at, who needs names? .
WU LYF are for the children. Thus far, World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation have taken equal inspiration from A Clockwork Orange and fellow Mancunians Happy Mondays to play out that adolescent fantasy of having every bird-flip rewarded by authority figures they're meant to offend. The British rags will help you fill in the rest, but here are a few talking points: getting a cold call from Michel Gondry only to ignore it; charging desperate A&R's 50 pounds for a demo; telling the UK press to fuck off, only to have them respond with statements like, "they're reinventing the wheel." Their web presence is so cryptic, they make Dead Air Space look like Lil B's Twitter feed.
In an interview granted last month for the Australian press, WU LYF mainman Ellery Roberts found time to round on his tormentors in the world of the media. “The British music press,” he complained, “uses the most ridiculous, hyperbolic language at every opportunity.”This is probably the greatest statement ever made by a man or woman and is up there with the Beatitudes, the Communist Manifesto and the Declaration Of Independence. And WU LYF? They’re basically the noise that God hears when he’s jamming with Bach on the Bontempi.
After a year spent giving the industry and the curious the runaround with their high-profile air of mystery, there was always going to be an anticlimax when World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation were unmasked as denim-wearing Mancunian blokes, not actual extra-terrestrials. However, their hotly anticipated debut does not disappoint, although it may baffle. At first, their unintelligible Kings of Leon-y grunted vocals don't seem to work.
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.
Shrouded in mystery, thanks to a refusal to do any press, a rather unsettling website featuring a series of quasi-religious mission statements, and a single photo of the band covered up by smoke and bandanas, Manchester cult outfit WU LYF's anti-hype approach has, intentionally or not, turned them into one of the most hyped bands of the year. Following 12 months of carefully orchestrated guerrilla tactics, their debut album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, is the real litmus test to see if they can live up to their "savior of indie music" expectations, or whether their enigmatic media presence has just distracted from another Emperor's New Clothes scenario. The truth is somewhere in between.
The hype that WU LYF have generated has, it’s fair to say, backfired a bit. I must admit, I was taken in by their mystique: the lack of information about them or even the actual music, their mythological acronym-name, that single cult-like picture on their website that at the time seemed to be the sole clue to their identity. I figured the music must be amazing if they’d merited so much attention without the self-promotion you can see on a million unremarkable bands’ Myspace accounts.
In a time when the western world has plugged itself into the virtual looking-over-the-neighbour’s fence of Facebook, when Lady Gaga can’t even enjoy a cooking program without 50 identical news stories reporting it and where all and sundry clamour for their own sense of importance in just 140 characters, how refreshing it seemed to have a band like WU LYF. Here was a young group of Mancunians who cropped up last year in a whirl of hype only to shun the millions of shouting internet voices, to refuse interviews and who slipped around the shadows of their native city avoiding the claustrophobia of its overlapping scenes. It was all bollocks of course, something ascertained fairly quickly by the many whose desire for full disclosure remained resolutely insatiable.
Shabazz Palaces “Clear some space out so we could space out,” Palaceer Lazaro raps on Shabazz Palaces’ debut album, “Black Up” (Sub Pop), summing up the group’s aesthetic. Ishmael Butler, a k a Palaceer Lazaro, called himself Butterfly when he was a leader of the jazz-loving, Grammy ….