Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

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Shrouded in mystery, thanks to a refusal to do any press, a rather unsettling website featuring a series of quasi-religious mission statements, and a single photo of the band covered up by smoke and bandanas, Manchester cult outfit WU LYF's anti-hype approach has, intentionally or not, turned them into one of the most hyped bands of the year. Following 12 months of carefully orchestrated guerrilla tactics, their debut album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, is the real litmus test to see if they can live up to their "savior of indie music" expectations, or whether their enigmatic media presence has just distracted from another Emperor's New Clothes scenario. The truth is somewhere in between. Self-produced in a disused church in their hometown suburb of Ancoats, its ten tracks cleverly capture the spiritual nature of their surroundings, whether it's the mournful organs that underpin the likes of reverb-soaked opening track "L.Y.F" and the chiming atmospherics of epic closer "Heavy Pop," the funeral march of "Such a Sad Puppy Song," or the striking preacher-like tones of Ellery Roberts, whose primal and tortured garblings often resemble the sound of a man possessed. But while his unintelligible mutterings, which may disappoint those expecting the record to do the talking, appear almost otherworldly, its musical accompaniment is altogether more orthodox, at times recalling the angular indie pop of Foals ("Summas Bliss"), the rhythmic Afro-beat of Vampire Weekend ("We Bros"), and the shimmering space rock of early the Verve ("14 Crowns for Me and Your Friends"). It's only on the animalistic percussion of "Cave Song" and the post-apocalyptic rhythms of "Dirt" that the band manage to match the sense of menace that Roberts' bellowing howls produces. WU LYF, or to give them their full name, World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation, were perhaps always going to struggle in the face of such lofty hopes, and while they undoubtedly possess an enthralling if admittedly divisive frontman and admirable D.I.Y. set of ideals, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain is surprisingly just a little too ordinary to be considered the groundbreaker many anticipated.

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