What with all the trips down 90s Americana “Indie Rock” lane recently, I have, of late, lost a bit of my Anglophile edge.
Sure, there’s my love of Foals, and my appreciation for the young Yuck (who simply and mostly ape 90s Americana Indie Rock anyway). And I was recently at Wales’ Gruff Rhys’ gig, and Oxford’s Stornoway. But truth be told, I’ve been kinda NorthAm’d since leaving the UK a few years ago, and not a hell of a lot has really turned my crank recently. Then I saw one line in Q Magazine last month about a new band calling them the “UK’s most exciting”. Which usually means fuck all if you read the NME every week. Besides, the Guardian drooled over ’em a full year ago. And they sounded wanky to me then.
But Manchester’s WU LYF now really interest me.
Not because every song on their debut Go Tell Fire to the Mountain sound the same, certainly. Or because they’ve manufactured “mystery” around them. Or because four 20/21-year old chaps and their name (standing for World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) arrive around the same time as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Or because they didn’t do any interviews until a month or so ago, preferring instead tocreate “chatter” around the pics of kids hiding behind smoke and white scarves. Or because of the riot and punk imagery rippingaround their elaborate website. Or the fact that they might actually might be supported in part by a famous London media agency guy.
No, the reason I’m interested in Wu Lyf is because of ALL OF THAT.
The songs on the debut are fairly- no, totally – repetitive but then, most debuts are in some way. They’re young, give ’em time, etcetera etcetera.
But then there’s this other stuff, the other reasons I’m interested: there’s something a bit captivating in the album. The battleground, call-to-action drums on “Dirt”, the pained, slurry screamvocals on every track – the band are into the Minutemen and Black Flag, nice – and the choral, pastoral guitar, organs and thumpy beats. The bits of quiet eerieness in “Heavy Pop”. The fact that “LYF” might actually, really, mean “Love You Forever”. The weird Anglo-soul in “Cave Song”. I hear snippets of shoegaze and Cure guitar, Joy Division, The XX, Foals (minus the mathrock), Grizzly Bear echo. It all sounds like it was recorded in a dripping dark garage with shards of sunlight shining through broken glass (how’s that for pretentious imagery? But no, really, that’s what I imagine.)
As for the rhetoric and middle-class ennui from Evans, Joe, Ellery and Tom (t’lads of Wu Lyf), and big-boy imagery, it reminds me of the Manic Street Preachers, circa ’91. And I loved them too. You know what? PROPS FOR EFFORT.
You can be full of shit, and still wonderful.
So here’s to Wu-Lyf. I know I’m a bit late off the mark, but I reckon some of my 90s Americana Indie Rock friends may not have heard of you. May you reign long enough for me to determine if you’re actually full of shit, or wonderful. Plus, I’d quite like to see you live on stage, k?
Give it a listen, and let me know what you think. I’m still trying to figure out what I think. \m/
Wu Lyf – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain by La Biche & Le Moine
2 responses to “UK Hyped Band #1,047: On the subject of WU LYF”
Minus the story, the potential for ad-man trickery and the smoke and mirrors….I dig the songs. I think that’s what matters in the end.
I can’t tell what I think after one listen. I hear a LOT of Arcade Fire, but the vocals throw me off. they’re going for anthems and they may yet succeed, but it’s not blow you out of the water first listen type anthems.