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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O. CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

3.97 | 292 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars Ever since this album came out I thought it was a step down from the great Lift Your Skinny Fists... I first discovered GYBE around 2001 and heard Skinny Fists first. I loved it and it convinced me that, indeed, there was still great music being made. I heard their pre-Skinny material and I liked what I heard. I thought this ensemble were going somewhere and could only get better. So, when Yanqui came out, I couldn't wait to hear it. When I finally did hear it I was disappointed. The vocal samples were gone and the music just seemed to drag on and on in places.

Here they change the position of the "!" for some reason. They would go on a long hiatus after this album. Now working with producer Steve Albini on this album, who was known for his work with grunge bands in the 1990s. Yanqui is a sort of instrumental concept album about the weapons of war. They make a connection between major record companies and how they are in bed with weapons manufacturers on the back cover. The music here is not much different from previous releases, but it has less memorable moments than before.

"09-15-00 (Part One)" has the music slowly building and then it stops around 6 minutes in. Then a different section begins. Drums come in around 9 minutes and the music gets more interesting. Later everything quiets down and there is some military style drumming. Builds up to a loud crescendo at the end. "09-15-00 (Part Two)" has a steady hi-hat throughout. Basically just guitar and violin textures.

"Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" starts with some nice 3-note guitar playing before other instruments join in. 3 1/2 minutes in it gets louder and more intense, then dies down and comes back again. I like the guitar effect used here. Later on some tribal pounding on the drums and some strings come in. The song then grows into a more chamber-prog style; this part will appeal to some avant-prog fans. After post-rock guitars start to drown out everything else except the drums which get louder. The cool guitar effect comes back. Ends with tremoloed guitar and strings.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part One)" begins with a 'ping' sound and random noises on different instruments. Some guitar and strings before a steady bass drum and hi-hat. Then melodic violin and bass. Some snare drum now and more guitars and strings. Builds towards first crescendo. Before 9 minutes starts some great melodic bass playing. After the music dies down and then a 6-note guitar figure which gets repeated for about 8 minutes with random noises from other instruments coming and going. This guitar part is done on a heavier guitar at one point. Not always the same 6 notes and there is a little variation, but this part takes up the majority of the last half which is really, really boring.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part Two)" is the best song. It takes awhile to get going. The music is mostly based around what the bass is playing. Builds to a crescendo and pretty much stays there with changes in tempo. When the drums stop begins the best part of the song with good guitar parts. Drums and bass then join in. Last minute or so is guitar feedback and violin.

If you want to get into GYBE I suggest you put this at the bottom of your list. You should hear their previous work first. This group, and post-rock in general, seemed to have reached a dead-end in the mid-00s. This situation has improved slightly in the past few years, but for awhile it appeared that post-rock had said all it could say. GYBE is now touring again, and if they make another album , I hope it is better than this one. Yanqui U.X.O. deserves 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |


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