Godspeed You! Black Emperor – 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Of all the suspiciously frequent band reunions taking place over the past few years, elusive Canadian post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor's reactivation in 2010 seemed to top everyone's list for most unexpected. In typically low-key fashion, the group released this fourth offering out of nowhere at a show in Boston on October 1st, almost neatly a decade after previous effort Yanqui U.X.O.
Comprised mainly of reworkings – they had been known to play primitive versions of Mladic and We Drift Like Worried Fire live as far back as 2003 – 'Allelujah feels as much like a lost relic as it does a gallant new statement, following on from the outright panic of Yanqui and spiralling into a whirlwind of dramatic aural beauty.
There's a Middle Eastern flavouring to these pieces; the aggressive, string-heavy flurry of Mladec – as well as the political nature of the record's inserts – encourage vivid mental images of social revolutions in the Arab world, but, given the instrumental nature of the music, it's difficult to form a concise narrative. It hardly matters; primarily, Godspeed have always connected with listeners on a primal level, and they're as captivating and emotionally stirring now as ever.