WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Released June 13th, 2011 on LYF Recordings
Produced by WU LYF
Peaked at #98 U.K.
“Concrete Gold / Heavy Pop”
For a brief, shining moment in time WU LYF – World United Lucifer Youth Foundation – were one of the most-hyped bands on the planet. The lead-up to their 2011 debut (and, to date, only album) was studded with music journalists waxing rhapsodic about the band’s signature ‘heavy pop’ style, which featured anthemic movements, wild dynamic shifts, and dollops of arena-ready organ and guitar sounds. Of course, lots of bands in the aftermath of the 00s success of Wolf Parade and Arcade Fire traded in these kinds of sounds. Two things set WU LYF apart from their contemporaries: first, their cultivated air of mysteriousness, and second the expansive nature of their sound.
Their mysteriousness was a marketing ploy from the beginning, but it was an intriguing one. No one could tell you at the time who any of these people were. Near the top of the pre-release hype, the band could barely be found through an internet search. The website claimed that “WU LYF is nothing.” The names of the band members could barely be found. The press claimed them to be less of a band and more of a roving gang, an open-ended membership that was heavily reminiscent at the time of OFWGKTA. The stark religious themes present in the songs aided them – was this a band or some weird Millennial cult? At one point the band was largely comprised of a few heavily-traded MP3s, a physical single that was going for ridiculous prices, and maybe eleven shows total. So Wikipedia deleted the band’s entry, claiming that there was no claim to importance that would warrant a page.
Their sound made that mysteriousness seem all the more delicious. It was, in a word, huge. Lots of people, as I mentioned, made their name on big, anthemic indie rock songs that sounded like they were written to be performed in arenas and at festivals. The songs on Go Tell Fire To The Mountain sound as though they are already there, though: they fill the room, taking up as much of the sonic space as they can while still leaving room to pulse and breathe. The secret behind this turned out to be as prosaic as their ‘mysteriousness’: the band’s original recordings didn’t excite them, so they chose to record them in an abandoned church in Manchester instead. That church lent the recordings the massive-yet-tasteful reverb that gives the album its signature sound. It also played well into the religious undercurrents on the record.
In the end, WU LYF suffered the same fate as countless other hype bands both then and now. They got big, released the record, toured like hell behind it, and then came home to discover that they didn’t really like each other or want to play music with each other anymore. Singer Ellery Roberts was the first to walk away, leaving a cryptic message embedded into a video for a new song, “T R I U M P H”, that claimed the band was finished but that it wasn’t an end but rather a beginning. Either way the band was done; the members went their separate ways and none of those separate ways have given them even an ounce of the anticipation that the lead-up to Go Tell Fire To The Mountain brought them.