Wu Lyf: Go Tell Fire To The Mountain Review
Fans of subtlety and restraint need not even drop the needle onto the debut record Go Tell Fire to the Mountain by Wu Lyf. The 10 song record is the kind of record that either drives you up the wall or creates a stirring fire inside your belly. The vocals are all sung with the intensity that could pop veins in your neck and the instrumentation is a mix between the grandeur of Sigor Ros and the crescendos of Explosions in the Sky. In the middle there are semblances of verse-chorus-verse structure and some group chanting, but don’t expect anything close to a normal pop record from Go Tell Fire to the Mountain.
From the opening moments of “L F Y,” with the majestic church organ softly humming into the speakers, you can plausibly guess this is going to be an ornate record. If minimalism is worthy of being considered a genre, than Wu Lfy are decidedly entrenched with the “maximalist ” (to make up a word) crowd. The instruments are loud and aggressive, fighting for space and bleeding into one another, often in such a frantic pace that it seems like they are playing in a studio that is on fire, hoping to escape. A good example of the theatrics is the album centerpiece “We Bros,” which jaunts from brittle guitars to Arcade Fire covering Build to Spill pomp to a almost Animal Collective group chant, all crammed into six frantic minutes. The group takes other left field jaunts, such as the Tom Waits sounding “Such a Sad Puppy Dog” and “Spitting Blood,” which is what I always imagined Broken Social Scene would sound like after people told me how “intense” they were. Go Tell Fire to the Mountain packs the emotional punch of a hurricane, with pop music theatrics thrown in for good measure. Even at the points where it is just pipe organs, the 10 song collection is emotionally fraught collection of pop songs that would make early Modest Mouse era Issac Brock proud.
Go Tell Fire to the Mountain is an expansive and commanding debut album, one that seemingly has no fear in stretching too far or exposing too much. For all of the dramatic flair, the record rarely, if ever, feels forced or overbearing, doing a good job of mixing an emotional punch without becoming cheesy. With the mystery, and hype, surrounding the band, their music will be put under and increasingly bright light, but from my first glance the band seem to be doing a pretty good job.