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Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Don’t believe the hype – they’re actually quite good...
Philip Byrne, 25 Jul 2011
In many ways, Manchester outfit Wu Lyf are asking for a good critical roasting. Courting controversy by (gasp!) not speaking to the press and posting obfuscating, coded treatises on their site, the band have woven a narrative that paints them as egoless, zeitgeist-shunning zeroes with a vaguely sinister agenda (‘Lyf’ stands for Lucifer Youth Foundation, dontcha know).
Sadly the same narrative has a huge, PR machine-shaped hole in it, and questions of authenticity dog this record: it’s a struggle not to judge the band based solely on their hype-farming.
Luckily, the songs gathered here exemplify a singular talent, masterful musicianship and lack of ego you don’t expect to find.
Wu Lyf’s sound tilts smoothly from early Arcade Fire-style testifying (album opener ‘LYF’ announces itself with stately church organs) to Kings Of Leon-tinged anthems (‘Cave Song’ owes ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’). They pass British Sea Power, Modest Mouse and Yeasayer’s rehearsal rooms along the way, cherry-picking to create an atmospheric, engulfing sound.
Frontman Ellery Roberts’ rasping wail delivers with such abandon that it’s sure to become a running joke online: not one word of his lyrics is decipherable.
This isn’t the performance of a man aiming for the singles charts, but it does occasionally border on parody: his yelped delivery on ‘Such A Sad Puppy Dog’ makes him sound like something from The Muppet Show.
Wu Lyf have got some gorgeous songs and defy their own hype, the little gits. They actually are rather good.