Post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor return to another world phase of political turmoil and humanitarian crisis, with a record of their usual oblique serenade. Following the format of the two records of their modern era, it features four songs in sum and continues to rebrand them as God's Pee (make it happen). Luciferian Towers is inspired by a long list of inequalities -- "an end to foreign invasions, borders, the dismantling of the prison-industrial complex, healthcare" -- and will likely factor in as much quiet meditation as it does grandiose rock action.
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- CST126LP / 180g vinyl LP on Constellation. Comes in a gatefold jacket printed on uncoated paperboard with a printed inner dust sleeve and a 24"x24" pull-out poster
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I can’t believe I’m doing this but I am. This, in the grand scheme of things, is just another Godspeed humdinger. forty minutes instead of a cinematic hour plus. Plain rock music with no political self-sabotage -- no all-seeing preacherman, no devastating conspiracy. What Godspeed have been, from Allelujah to the now, is a steady band: releasing jams with riffs instead of pieces with praxis, they have packed up their sound up in a way many might find counter-intuitive to their high-concept existence. Listening to 'Luciferian Towers', though, I feel a little different: this is their most beautiful, most poignant and dare I say it their most jubilant record ever. It is just that.
With the current political collapse at its core (and a strong stance to not contribute to the apartheid of the middle-east in their distribution intentions), Godspeed suggested a record of withering despair and righteous protest. Instead, they’ve delivered their most ascendant work ever, an album that begins by squeezing joy out of its corners, its dance of fugue strings and skronking horns begging a communal fanfare into existence. The result is joy; it comes from a frantic struggle. It leads into a thirteen minute suite of unbridled hope, the life-affirming “Bosses Hang”, which one in our office has described as “post-rock’s A Little Help From My Friends”. Soaring into the air with riffs as euphoric as a pop's anthem of coming together, it spins out of control into a psychedelic tour de-force, eventually dovetailing through pitch until it’s exhausted every iteration of its unwavering faith in life. It then crashes back to its central riff of happy doom.
Happy doom is what I’ll call it even if it makes no sense. See if I care: this record’s slow relay of chord changes and fist-pounding drums should be soul-destroying but it’s a celebration in slow motion. To help us recognize in them the band we’ve become reliant on, the record ends on a track of old-school Godspeed medley, building on the shapelessness of their debut record with a three-part arrangement that goes from contemporary classical into rock music into riffs straight out of a Western. Kissed off with searing dissonance and howling strings, it does exactly what I want a Godspeed album to do: it howls a pissed off and joyful noise into its pissy joyless world.
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