Drawing on both the early foundations that built their cult following and the present inspiration, Godspeed You Black Emperor delivers a searing album full of open-hearted truth. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "is a dazzling piece of music, as much in the power of the orchestration as in the imagery. A colossal experience to be lived imperatively as a fall with eyes closed. You could say it's a return to grace.
And if the year 2021 was a "pivotal" year for Post-Rock? In any case it is not the signs that will show the contrary. While the term was created in 1993 by the famous music critic Simon Reynolds, 2 years after the release of the Slints' masterpiece Spiderland, the backbone of the musical style having consolidated the pioneering experiments of Talk Talk, Post Rock is finally today more of an obscure and unfamiliar musical style that painfully endures thanks to its past and its impact. It's enough to take into account the last decade to understand that Post-Rock remains reserved to a limited scene, which doesn't prevent it from being brilliant. Of course, it can be explained by the fact that a musical style is also linked to its time, to a specific context, an attitude. This is typically what explains why the 90's/early 2000's were what we can call the golden age of Post-Rock. When you think about it, since the release of the fantastic "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! " in 2012, marked by the return of the Canadian band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, only the legendary New York band Swans have held the torch of a Post-Rock in decline. However, some bright spots seem to offer potentially encouraging perspectives for the future of Post-Rock. First of all, and this is the example of the day on which we will dive, because the cult bands of the movement continue to offer us superb albums like "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "but not only because a new British generation seems to follow in their footsteps, whatever their differences and originalities. Yes this is not an indirect comparison and mainly based on hypothesis on which rests the "reflection" of the day, because yes the distinctions do not necessarily make them bands of the purely Post-Rock scene, however I think that Black Country New Road, Black Midi or even Squid by their similarities will be perhaps doors of significant evolutions. The future will tell us, but for the moment there is an album burning like molten lava which comes to flow in ears, the 7th album of Godspeed You Black Emperor. Analysis.
The Canadian band has always been the sharpest when using a boiling context, and it's no surprise to find them so good with the global pandemic we're going through. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "is an album that depicts humanity up against the wall, in a hurry as if the sword of Damocles was about to fall. The band's unabashedly sinister words about the main theme of the new album are unmistakable: "this record is about all of us waiting for the end. all current forms of governance are failed. ". A chilling message, announcing chaos. It is certainly not the masterpiece capable of equaling their various triumphs, those that created the legend and marked the history, however "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! " is perhaps the most intense, as it touches us emotionally and deeply, especially when humanity and differences overwhelm us as if no amount of electroshock could change our minds and bring us together. The atmosphere and the orchestration that emerges is so intense that the experience transcends us entirely, like that apocalyptic vision that the omens warn us. And if finally "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! " was one of them? In any case, we can clearly say that Godspeed You Black Emperor succeeded in its blow, especially when we have the impression throughout the experience to feel the ground shaking, the walls collapsing as if the sky seems to crash. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "is more than a political satire, it is a stark contrast, denouncing the hunger for power and the evil power of money at the expense of peace. And what can we say about the heart and the sincere efforts that Godspeed You Black Emperor put in place in order to make us feel, down to the smallest vibration, their message through a musicality and an absolutely penetrating production, helped notably by Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes. It is moreover this attitude that they have, which in spite of the chaotic context, does not seem to us to resign to the point that all is definitive. It is for this simple reason that I insisted a little above on the aspect of "premonitory vision" because finally the Canadian group lets us see that there is a possible glimmer of hope like a final warning.
So far and if you are familiar with the band of more than 26 years of career, you will not learn anything new, that is to say that we remain globally on the same musical formulas, on similar textures absolutely suffocating and atmospheric, the use of Field Recordings or the Chamber aesthetic, without forgetting of course the themes related to the apocalyptic concepts, the political messages. However, what is fascinating is that not only it's been since 2012 that we haven't heard them in this form, but despite the passage of time, they still manage to give life to their formulas by offering us new appealing soundscapes. "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "is based on the hits that created their legends, more than on the last albums, we can see the similarities, especially in the construction and the way of interpreting the content. Nostalgia has only one defect and it remains the main limit of this new album, it is that we do not really progress by staying in the past. That is to say that Godspeed You Black Emperor used to be visionary, but today this aspect loses some speed. However, for those who haven't heard it yet, it doesn't change the fact that "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! "remains an excellent album, but I prefer to explain the reasons why we are far from their cult relics. Beyond the multiple mysteries fused with a hazy, soaring orchestration that surrounds this album, angst occupies a symbolic place in "G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! ". From the beginning with the introduction of the first part (I group the one that initially is 20 minutes long, because it is cut on the streaming platform), Military Alphabeat transpires an overwhelming statement of urgency before giving way to the sequence Job's Lament / First Of The Last Glaciers, a progressive rise in power, punctuated by a kind of alarm at first before everything becomes more disjointed. It is interesting to observe the orchestration releasing this feeling of oppression until saturation, as if suddenly the elements were separated by a force of gravity that would make them much more atmospheric and free. One can obviously see the metamorphosis in particular of the final warning before the beauty of the chaos. And sincerely, this is where one of the main strength of the Canadian band lies, in the fact that they can (and without talking) deliver with the power of their orchestration an intense concentrate of feelings, images and emotions. It's as if someone said to you: "do whatever you want, just don't forget to imagine that the end of the world is coming".
I'm not sure if Fire At Static Valley is a metaphor inspired by the Valley of Fire in Nevada or if it's unrelated, but in any case this almost 6 minutes long independent song is as beautiful as it is poignant. Feeling like you're on top of the world, watching the world embrace itself, smoking one last cigarette. You can feel all the spirituality that transpires from Fire At Static Valley, the connection to the earth, to the spirits and to the greatness of nature, no one can feel powerful when facing it. No matter what image you make of it, there is this strong feeling of loneliness that surrounds you, as if left to your own devices, a symbol of the "last judgment" (outside of the religious context). My favorite moment in the album comes at the end of Gouvernment Came, when you had already taken 8 minutes of happiness before that. Just like the first part of the album, Government Came is based on much more understandable recordings, which allows the mystery and anguish to take on more weight, especially when the guitars later articulate the whole heart of the song on that. As much in its construction, details and twists, Government Came remains my "favorite part" of the album. Once the craziness wears off, Godspeed You Black Emperor bring the intensity back down with a steamy Shoegaze on "Cliffs Gaze" before going back to a sort of Rock Symphony fused with Alternative Rock, it's absolutely breathtaking. That's why this almost 20 minutes long set (from Gouvernment Came to ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE) remains in my opinion the highlight of the album. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't listen to the outroduction Our Side Has To Win, which is ironically the song that gives off the most hope and good feeling, finishing with beauty all the intensity that the rest of the album offers, like a smooth digestion. We can hear a beautiful and poignant orchestration, which really makes us want to listen to the album again immediately. To conclude I think you understood that not only I liked the album, but on top of that I am really bluffed in spite of the cult around this legendary band that they are still able to deliver us after all this time an album as sublime, poignant and deep as this one.