Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Despite not releasing anything since 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O., it is resolutely clear that Montreal postrock collective GY!BE still believe in the dominion of the grand statement. Exclamation marks and bold uppercase fonts propagate with every successive release. Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! sticks to the troupe’s classic strategy of constant punch-lining that made 1999’s Slow Riot For New Zerø Kanada so exhilarating.

godspeedBass is frequently employed as the default scene-setter. Mauro Pezzente offers a relentless string of pulses during the typically overstated but engagingly dramatic ‘Mladic’. Chicaning runs beneath the swelling strains, he shifts the piece from a Sergio Leone-like score to seething variations on Neil Young’s ‘Like A Hurricane’, before seguing into some rambunctious arabesques.

The album’s other extended work, ‘We Drift Like Worried Fire’, counts on Thierry Amar’s contrabass to marshal the uproar, and his deeply furrowed arcos evoke storm clouds. Only the smouldering closer ‘Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable’, with its coruscating flux of vapour and denouement of minimalist beauty, commits itself to any prolonged plateau. A welcome departure from the preceding histrionics.

Music ***

Playing ****

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