Devoid of glimmer or pageantry, Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor released their first album in 10 years, during a show in Boston on October 1st.
Interestingly, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! counts just four tracks, two of which were previously under the working names “Albanian” and “Gamelan,” but have now been properly titled “Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire” respectively.
A behemoth of an opener, “Mladic” takes its time taunting the listener, swelling to its ever impending crescendo for just a second short of twenty minutes. A warm welcome to any fans who may not have had the chance to see GY! BE perform live as of late.
Humor me as I compare the swell to the sound of the thousands of striking Montreal students this past summer, as they ascended Avenue du Parc. Neatly tucked inside the album’s jacket sleeve are some choice words for Loi 78, as well as a big old red square.
The two six minute songs stashed between the twenty minute tracks are mostly noise. “Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable” closes the album but felt like there was something missing. However, thanks to its extreme dynamic changes and the experimental rhythmic work littered throughout “We Drift Like Worried Fire,” the predecessior to “Strung Like Lights…” may just be the best GY! BE song I’ve ever heard.
It’s interesting to think about how much Post-Rock has changed since the last GY! BE album in 2002. The way the artists have just casually thrown one of their most heavy and intricate albums to the wolves feels almost like some form of zen like frivolity.
Stripped of million dollar marketing campaigns, press pushes and all the other bells and whistles that other musicians would have a hard time letting go of, GY! BE really stepped up to the plate. They just knew Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was too good to fall short, and they had faith that their fans would let the album live by word of mouth. Really what they knew, is that they needed no introduction.
Case in point: due to an overwhelming demand they are no longer taking pre-orders on their online store. But all is not lost! They are encouraging alternative options for their fans, all of which can be found here.