Ach. What to say about Wu-Lyf that hasn’t been said. Well a lot apparently since they are a rather reclusive foursome from England. Perhaps they are so into making excellent, soul-searing music that they don’t really recognize the outside world…wait, that’s not it.
One listen-through to this release and I’m thinking its more of a gimmick to turn attention away from what they are trying to pass off as worldly, mysterious, Important music. Their newly-released album “Go Tell Fire OnThe Mountain” contains no fire at all and nothing to actually go tell anyone. I understand artists not wanting to give into commercialism, or to be free to express their own vision, but as I understand those concepts, there has to be some actual ability to demonstrate a talent that the masses, however large or small they may be, want.
LYF starts the album. Hm. Life? Is that what it’s supposed to be about? I was so distracted by the discordance of the arrangement after a very hopeful organ intro, that I almost welcomed Ellery Roberts’ vocals. Almost. I kept waiting for the whole thing to gel and get going, but…no. Okay. So maybe this wasn’t the best way to introduce their first album, but there would be better cuts, yes?
Cave Song and Such A Sad Puppy Dog wander around, seeking a melody, some meaningful interludes, a decent percussion track, anything. Instead, these songs and most of the remaining tracks are a free-for-all of sounds, and not everyone seems to be on the same page or even playing the same song. As Roberts’ is the only vocalist I can discern, I’m going to recommend that he either rehab his voice (it is neither pleasingly gravelly or smoky dark…if that is what he is going for) or perhaps let someone else stand in for a song or two. It’s just not listenable.
Ethereal background moanings introduce Crowns For Me & Your Friends a la Doves, but the reverb on the too-earnest vocals and huge mish-mosh of sound is annoying and makes the lyrics hard to understand. I mean, good lyrics in a so-so musical background can get you through a lot, but a listener doesn’t even get to make that judgment here.
The last track Heavy Pop, opens with a couple repeated chords on a piano and finally Roberts brings in more earnest vocals. The song doesn’t seem that different than the openers, certainly not in a positive way and I was glad when it was over.
If I had to pick one song that I didn’t like less than the rest, it would be Concrete Gold, with the caveat that it, too, devolves into a gooey mess at the end.
Other reviews of this band churn about the fact that they are ascetic and, perhaps politely, that their biggest selling point is that they have the ability to maintain mystique. Easy to do when they don’t have the musical talent to generate buzz – or sales.
Oh, I forgot…they are artistes and don’t want to be mainstream. We are safe.
I can be bored with a group and still find something to listen to. I can even say that something isn’t my cup of tea, recognizing talent in spite of my taste. I’m afraid WU-LYF falls into the distinct category of “Do Not Want.”