#13

November 11, 2010

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Yanqui U.X.O.
post-rock
2002

While Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is the popular choice, I think Yanqui U.X.O trumps it as Godspeed You(!) Black Emperor(!)’s best album. There’s a real sense of purpose in the music here, giving it a drive that always seemed to be lacking from the group’s more jammy efforts. It’s far more consistent and tightly structured, with the songs being noticeably cleaned up and held in a forward-facing direction for their full duration. It might make it slightly more predictable, but it also makes it significantly more listenable, and certainly more replayable. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.The gravitas that the group are known for is in effect to an extent not seen since the noirish overdubbed dialogue of their debut, giving the album a pit-of-the-stomach impact that works hugely in its favour. The high points are as gripping as ever, with dramatic buildups, such as the one which stalks its way through a solid four minutes of “Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls”, leading into those trademark, soaring crescendos. Perhaps best of all, the album’s closing track, “Motherfucker=Redeemer”, sees this dark motif through with a blazing finale that’s undeniably uplifting, something altogether unexpected given the tone of the rest of the album. This finish provides Yanqui U.X.O with an emotional sweep that few other instrumental albums can match. A real post-rock triumph.

 

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