After being asked who let off the smoke bomb, the culprate evntually owned up.
Billed as the most enigmatic band of the 21st century by some, the future of British music by others and the most pretentious outfit to come out of the north by the rest. But, what just is it that is causing such a rigours divide between the music press up and down the country about WU LYF?
In a year where the press’ ‘ones to watch’ consist largely of Eaton College drop outs on a gap year prior to taking up an executive position at Uncle William and Auntie Kate’s law firm, it would be fair to assume that Manchester is arguably the most likely place to produce creative a response from the working classes. And, in any other circumstances one would be right to assume so. However, these are not regular circumstances and this is not 1994. As it happens, WU LYF are as middle class, as educated and laden with far more pretence than any of this years ‘hype bands‘. Although, it just so happens that they are far more talented.
Any attempt at research in relation to the band falls flat at the first hurdle. A useless Myspace page that contains no information about the band and a website that combines post apocalyptic imagery with that of urban decay and famine stricken countries, in a mash up of religious iconography (pretentious enough?). Not a single interview nor press shoot exists of the band. They casually refer to their management as ‘Warlord’ and they define their genre as ‘Heavy Pop’ (also the name of their debut single). It would seem outside of a handful of well documented gigs in their managers Manchester venue ‘An Outlet Café’, that this band simply does not exist.
It is these poorly recorded videos of the bands hometown performances along with their debut single (Heavy Pop), which have saved them from being thrown upon the art school scrap heap along with proving that they do actually exist.
First and foremost, this is loud music. Never is there any hint of a lull in which a song dares to reside into brief moment of serenity. Every cymbal crashes with the vigour of the last, every scream as sincere as the first and every riff as prominent as the next. This is noise that can not be escaped.
More importantly, WU LYF have done what very few if any of their noise rock predecessors have accomplished. They have successfully managed to transcend the overwhelming noise of their live performance onto record without compromise.
On debut single ’Heavy Pop’, the lyrics are simply inaudible, possibly this is the only real shame of WU LYF however, the onslaught of noise does more than compensate. The organ swells from the start and remains a daunting presence throughout the song, whilst reverb drenched guitar jars against the crashing cymbals with its dream pop melodies. The feverous vocal enters with all the hostility of a Birthday Party era Nick Cave to create a wall of sound bigger than Phil Spector could have possibly fathomed. However it is on forthcoming single ‘Split it Concrete Like the Colden Sun God’ that the band show their versatility.
Adapting their ‘Heavy Pop’ style, the drums lead an agile samba rhythm, whilst the bass provides the platform for the surf guitar and what was an in-audible yelp becomes a tribal sing-along. The art house style video depicts the western colonisation of a rainforest tribe with scenes of gratuitous violence and a subtext with varying implications of revolution. A long way from Manchester, I am sure you will agree.
Similarly, on live favourite ‘Lucifer Calling’, the band leads the audience from a Manchester café and into the closing scenes of Apocalypse Now with all the ease of a band four times their year. Not before the song descends into an un-ending drone of feedback as the rest of the band take up sticks to provide an onslaught of cross rhythms to which audiences respond with equal animalistic enthusiasm.
There can be no doubt that WU LYF have the catalogue to support the growing fascination that surrounds them. However, this makes the bands representation all the more curious. Could it be, that WU LYF have taken it upon themselves to iron out the creases in punks flawed fundamentals by refusing to acknowledge media presence in order to make their ant-establishment ideals all the more ‘real’? Or, could it be the most carefully constructed P.R campaign of the year, the likes of which are reserved strictly for soulless ‘Brit-School’ graduates to mask their minuscule puddle of talent?
Either way, WU LYF remain 2011’ s only real interesting prospect. Whether that says more about this years wave of new bands or not, will no doubt play a factor in any conclusion. For as long as WU LYF keep refusing to provide answers, the world has no choice but to keep asking questions.