POST-ROCK / AMBIENT / EPIC INSTRUMENTAL - Adam once described GYBE! as “The Beatles for elitist ass holes.” Imagine that The Beatles had taken a ten year hiatus after “Let it Be” and then surprised the world with a new release, and you’ll have an idea of how monumental this album is to snobs like us (and how much potential it has to disappoint).
It does not disappoint, although GYBE! takes too few risks to stand out in 2012 like they did around 2000. Back are the dense, shifting drones; slow builds; soaring crescendos; unsettlingly quiet interludes; hypnotic, Krautrock-y onslaughts; apocalyptic riffs; and, most importantly, see-saws between hopefulness and despair. They sidestep most of the post-rock clichés, though: the crescendos are patiently developed, not forced, and the album comes across as honest, not heavy-handed.
Although it contains relatively few surprises, ‘Allelujah reminds us that Godspeed still sits comfortably at the throne of their genre. This album is more intelligent, honest, subtle, and patient than just about any post-rock I’ve heard in quite a while.
Track descriptions inside.
1 and 3 are classic Godspeed mini-suites; 2 and 4 are drones.
I haven’t even attempted to describe the parts of either mini-suite. There are too many. I’ve just given a general idea.
1. (20:00) Slow build. Crushing grooves, among Godspeed’s heaviest. Stinging guitar riffs. Incredibly dense, but the layering is beautiful. Clangy found-percussion outro.
2. (6:30) Dissonant drone. Incredible layering. Tension builds slowly, left unresolved.
3. (20:07) Alternates between dark, patient meandering and optimistic builds and crescendos. Really satisfying, climactic groove at the end.
4. (6:32) Ethereal, worried guitar drone. Slowly becomes distorted and mangled, but returns to ethereal tone to fade.