Sometimes, what we truly desire in music does not confine to the traditional standards of excellence. Sometimes, a record comes along that is so far removed from the accepted norms that it amasses continuous listening out of straight curiosity. Sometimes, we are stimulated most when there is no level of expectation; no hype of a previous release to cloud our sincere judgment. Sometimes, that specific thing we are looking for is Go Tell Fire to the Mountain.
Last year, the world was subjected to Titus Andronicus’ sophomore release, The Monitor. A semi-concept album about the Civil War, The Monitor was a sprawling piece of modern-day punk rock; one that spewed out vulgarity, questionable instrumentation, and most significantly, imperfection around every corner. So why is the record held to the astronomical standards? You may ask. The Monitor struck a chord with many because it was fervent in accentuating its flaws, which is not only hard to come by these days, but identifies so precisely with the human race. Although sonically, The Monitor and WU LYF’s debut Go Tell Fire to the Mountain bear almost no resemblance to each other, both records portray the raw passion, sincerity, anthemic qualities that so adequately describe landmark releases.
WU LYF = World, Unite, Lucifer, Youth, Foundation
On the surface, the true meaning of WU LYF’s alias makes absolutely no sense. When analyzed separately, the acronym provokes a sense of concord, liveliness, and change, yet together the words create a great deal of ambiguity. For those that have been seeking the purpose of WU LYF as a band since day one, this has been a frustrating reality. Vigilant to not reveal anything that would bring their rationale into the public, WU LYF is nearly impossible to speak to. Why would a band be so distant? That can be explained with the simple fact that WU LYF’s power is rooted in their obscurity. With this said, the aforementioned statement goes much further than just the band’s tag.
Just as The Monitor had been last year, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain is relentlessly over-the-top; providing the framework of a ridiculous collection of musical and lyrical ideas. The bold and potent instrumentation, which relies heavily on organs, noodling guitars, and a thunderous rhythm section creates a unique back-drop for the vague and nonsensical lyricism, yet the icing on the cake is presented by front-man Ellerly Roberts. From the time that we are introduced to Roberts two minutes into opener “LYF,” until his final shriek in “Heavy Pop,” the WU LYF vocalist is howling on the top of his lungs; bawling out the words that we can seldom decipher. With all of this said however, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain has the capacity to spark listening out of pure peculiarity, which is a rare phenomenon in modern day music. But what begins as curiosity, ultimately evolves into sheer amazement. When Go Tell Fire to the Mountain hits its stride, you stop caring about what WU LYF actually means by all of this and start seeing the record for what it is; one of a fucking kind.
When it comes down to it all, one does not need to even have a clue about what WU LYF’s message is about. Inevitably, the more we find out about WU LYF, the less significant they will become. Go Tell Fire to the Mountain isn’t just striking because of its uniqueness and oddly infectious hooks, or the fact that the record is ballsy, jubilant, or flat-out beautiful at any given time. The Manchester natives’ debut brings about the remarkable sentiment of unity within its anthems, just as Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor had done. And isn’t that the greatest message of all?
2. Cave Song
3. Such a Sad Puppy Dog
4. Summas Bliss
5. We Bros
6. Spitting Blood
8. Concrete Gold
9. 14 Crowns for Me and for My Friends
10. Heavy Pop