View Full Version : (Progressive Post-Rock/Neo-Classical) Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.

12-28-2003, 08:26 AM

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.

Track Listing:
1 & 2. 09-15-00
3. Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls
4 & 5. Mother****er = Redeemer

Yanqui U.X.O., the forth album coming from the giants of a genre almost impossible to define- Godspeed You! Black Emperor, heralds a long-awaited and long-welcomed return of the band and their wonderful music. Of course, after albums such as F# A# Infinity, Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, and Slow Riot To New Zero Kanada, a lot would have to be expected from this canadian 9-peice. So have they suceeded in creating the right followup, or, like most bands by their forth album, has it all gone to pot?

As per tradition on their part, the cardboard case is well crafted with a mixture of drawings and sketches, representing a certain artistic and quite beautiful emotions. The cover itself, a photo of bombs being dropped, is reprsentative of the album's name- U.X.O., according to the inner cd casing, is unexploded ordinance, landmines and clusterbombs. It is also representative of the songs- particulairly by the names of 09-15-00 (the date of recent Palistinian conflict (or, as Godspeed You! Black Emperor themselves put it, '09-15-00 is Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 isreali soldiers, marching on al-haram ash-sharif & provoking another intifade') and Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls. The whole album is seemingly trying to represent War, or even Holy War, through it's music and imaging.

Now, looking at the songs themselves:

1 & 2. 09-15-00 - 22:43
The album kick-starts with a very slow, progressive build of strings, drums, and guitar. The tension builds, and you expect it to break out into something quite powerful at any second, but, on the side, you also don't want it to. The music puts forward a very vivid and moving scene, and is certainly a beautiful start. Just as you think it's slowing down to a stop, the bass instruments kick in and the song continues on a very slow, but very moving pace. Suddenly, the song quiets down, and seemingly stops, only to starts on another tension-forming build-up. The song repeats itself on this idea of slowing right down, and building up again, using different ideas and melodies to give you a sense of panic, or releif, and each new idea pictures a new scene. The song represents the title perfectly in a sense, and puts forward several new ideas to it.

3. Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls - 20:42
Like 09-15-00, Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls heralds another 'build-up, break out, slow down, repeat' pattern. This time, however, the tension seems a little lost, and you can't help but feel a little lost while listening to it. To make up for that, however, the song provides some beautiful, and, again, some vivid melodies. While Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls is still an excellent song, after 09-15-00, it seems completely out of place, and less well structured. You can't help but feel a little let down, if you're listening to this CD in order. Some parts, however, and particulairly the intro, make up for this let-down by being very moving, and very melodic.

4 & 5. Mother****er = Redeemer - 31:25
The first part of Mother****er = Redeemer, again, follows the build-up pattern of the last two songs, but, it also shows it at best here. The bells at the start keeping you on the edge of your seat thinking something special is about to happen, and, then, suddenly, drums enter, at a very fast pace, sending the song in a whole new direction. The song builds up, carried by these drums, and is sent through many different variations, all of which are excellent. All of this heralds one of the best peices of music in Godspeed You! Black Emperor's history, next to the final break of Slow Riot To New Zero Kanada's Moya.
After this, Part 2 switches to a very slow, and very anti-climatic movement. While it works, it seems a lot weaker and a little out of place compared to the first part. Fortuantly, this is made up by it's ending, which builds brings the song back up to a more familiar level, finishing the cd off with a memoriable ending.

Pros of Yanqui U.X.O.
-Mother****er = Redeemer's intro, and part 1.
-Despite being long, the mostly never causes you to lose yourself
-Some of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's best music to date.

Cons of Yanqui U.X.O.
-The songs are long, you'll need a fairly strong patience to enjoy this- but then, if you've bothered reading this much of my review, you already have one.
-Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls, being placed in the centre of the cd, feels like a lost child in between two grown relatives he doesn't really know.
-Yanqui U.X.O. is the first cd the band used to refer to themselves as 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor'. What it was before, 'Godspeed You Black Emperor!' was better. Becuase GYBE! is a much more entertaining word than GY!BE. I choose to pick at this becuase I can.
-The splitting up of Mother****er = Redeemer and 09-15-00 into two seperate tracks, each, is a little bizarre.

While not without its faults, Yanqui U.X.O. shows itself to be a much more experimental album than its predicessors, and, overall, probably Godspeed You! Black Emperor!'s strongest album, or at least on par with F# A# Infinity. Some truly excellent parts make up for the weaker areas.

I rate Yanqui U.X.O.: 5 out of 5.

I consider it the best album I own. I find that Godspeed You! Black Emperor are an amazing band and worth everyone's time, although, thanks to the length, that time may be difficult to find. There's not really a band like them, but, if you listen to any other bands of the Constellation record lable (for example, Set Fire to Flames, Do Make Say Think, Sackville, Fly Pan Am), or even, if you enjoy Dream Theatre but wish to try something more soothing, Yanqui U.X.O. is well worth your purchase.

If you enjoyed Yanqui U.X.O., also try:
-Godspeed You Black Emperor! - F# A# Infinity
-Set Fire to Flames - Sings Reign Rebuilder
-Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
-Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Dead Cold Place

I trailed on a bit. If you got this far, thanks for reading :)

12-28-2003, 11:55 AM
its a wonderful album...not sure if it my favourite of theirs but everytime i listen to it it takes me to a different place. they are such a talented band and never cease to amaze me.
i dont really agree with your review..i think its all good except for a bit in track 3 where it drags..but it goes into a kickass solo so its all worth it

12-28-2003, 12:30 PM
Track 3 being Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls or Mother****er = Redeemer? I wouldn't say you'd be wrong saying that for either of them, actually.

12-28-2003, 07:09 PM
Great album, I got this one on LP for Christmas...its fantastic. On the LP 09-15-00 isn't split up, its on one full side, but Mother****er=redeemer is on both sides of the second vinyl.

Dancin' Man
07-01-2004, 02:41 PM
How would you describe the vocals here? I'm interested in this band but if the vocals don't fit my taste I'll end up hating it.

07-01-2004, 02:45 PM
I don't think there are any vocals.

07-01-2004, 04:11 PM
There are no vocals at all on this album, thats the whole point really. All other godspeed albums have at elast some sort of monologue going on or some recording playing over the music. All this has is a 'we're on' right at the start of the first song that is really faint...it indicates the rawness of this album.

10-14-2004, 09:31 PM
This time, however, the tension seems a little lost, and you can't help but feel a little lost while listening to it.

I got this album last weekend and it blew me away. I've heard Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls before and I loved it, so to me it didn't really seem out of place. It was actually a good change of pace between the first two tracks and the last two; just to have a nice constanly flowing track and still kicking ass.