14 of 14 thought this review was well writtenLift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
was released by Kranky Records on October 27th, 2000.
Godspeed is comprised primarily of 9 members. This Canadian nontet has released 4 albums, with Lift Your Skinny Fists... being the 3rd of the four. The album itself is divided into 2 cds. Tracks one and two are on the first cd and tracks three and four are on the second.
This album requires a couple listens to fully appreciate it. From its rolling, climactic moments to the moments of utter silence or ambient 'booping' noises. After a few listens, it all settles into one grandiose plethora of sound; sounds that you originally thought were pointless will actually reveal some rhyme or reason to it. What sets Godspeed apart from other musicians is that they divide their music up not into songs, but movements or pieces that flow intricately with one another. Considering that this is their 3rd album, Lift Your Skinny Fists... shows that Godspeed still possesses the ability to compose an epic of an album.
Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven...- The track slowly builds into almost a sort of military march. Trumpet, french horn and drums all build and build. Once the climax is reached, the music slowly fades away.
Gathering Storm- The next movement begins with a guitar playing what seems to sound like the song "Amazing Grace." At first it just seems like a cheap ripoff of the song, but it builds and builds into something of its own. Violins and trumpets blare as the song stacks on more and more layers of sound. Eventually the music soars and like all good things, must come to an end.
Il Pleut a Mourir [clatters like Worry]- This piece starts with the music already building. Once the building halts, the song busts out with rolling drums and wailing violin and cello. The feeling this song gives is one of being on a runaway locomotive whose speed is slowly diminishing. Eventually the drums and violins screech to a halt.
Welcome to Barco AM/PM.../Cancertowers on Holy Road Hi-Way- This movement is essentially a long solo-piano performance with indecipherable voices in the background. The mood that accompanies this piece is a dreary one; one of Godspeed's specialties.
Terrible Canyons of Static- More so of a filler track (although i hate to use the word, especially dealing with this kind of music). Basically comprised of ambient, eerie sounds. Sounding like radiowaves, they at least stick to the basic idea to the album. Nothing special here.
Chart #3- Violin and guitar carry the listener through the speech of a man who is telling (presumably) an audience about his encounter with God. The violin, cello and guitar peak at key moments in the speech to give the listener chills. I personally dont believe what the man says, but the music has so much emotion that everytime I listen to it, he becomes more and more persuasive. Good track.
World Police and Friendly Fire- An ever-growing guitar riff begins this movement with a violin and cello aiding its growth with their own gloomy contributions. Eventually percussion joins this growing snowball of a song along with xylophone and creepy high-pitched droning sounds. For a short time it is only the violin, but it doesnt last for long. Percussion, cello, violin, guitar and quite possibly several more instuments build this snowball effect and the listener finally realizes why this song is called "World Police." The piece finally ends with a screeching guitar solo and a droning outro of high-pitched ambience.
The Buildings They Are Sleeping Now- This movement is comprised mostly of eerie noises that Godspeed is just so darn good at using effectively. Alone, this track doesnt hold up much at all, but as the connector between the second and third track, it serves its purpose.
Murray Ostril: ...they don't sleep anymore on the beach...- The beginning of the second cd is a spoken monologue by a man who is recollecting about how Coney Island used to be. The monologue is followed by slow, clean, guitar strums and riffs and a whirling noise in the background. The feeling of despair is felt throughout the entire piece. While the monologue itself is rather gloomy, the music further accentuates the emotion. This is why I love Godspeed.
Monheim- Monheim starts with the ending of the previous piece and slowly builds in normal GY!BE fashion. Guitar, percussion, bass fade up and back down before peaking. Restraint like this shows why Godspeed is as good as everyone says they are. Violin enters as the beat is picked up by the percussionists and it continues on. A high-pitched whirling noise is used again and again the song picks up the tempo and becomes a fast-paced foot-tapper to say the least. Finally, like the rest, the music slows down and fades away.
Broken Windows, Locks of Love Pt. III- I know I'm being biased when I say this, but this is arguably my favorite piece on the entire album. A takes a good two minutes of agony while waiting for something to break out and take off, but trust me, its all worth it. Guitar and xylophone slowly rise up out the the ashes of the last piece to create perhaps one the of the most uplifting movements that Godspeed has ever created. If one has patience, they can truely appreciate the restraint upheld while producing this song. Eventually the percussion and guitar build and build. The song takes on a whole now life as trumpets blare in the background and add to the flow. There is a little interlude and then the drums come out with a catchy beat as the violin continues to fill the listener with emotion. Pure GY!BE 10/10
Antennas to Heaven...
Moya Sings "Baby-o"- "Baby-o" is a recording of an old man singing a song called "baby-o." The song is funny to begin with and the guy's low voice goes so well the music.
Edgy Swingset Acid- Beginning with the glockenspiel, the scattered noise is joined by what I believe are) French girls singing a song and talked to each other--another field recording via Godspeed.
She Dreamt She was a Bulldozer, She Dreamt She was Alone in an Empty Field- Slow outro sounds of the previous track end abruptly with the start of this one. Out of nowhere, guitar, bass, percussion and just about every other instrument in this band's arsenal erupt simultaneously to play this thrilling segment of music. A minute or so later, the instruments stop and a howling wind is heard. Out of the midst of this, a single guitar and bass begin the next movement. Following suit, the guitars, bass and xylophone build. Soon enough, another beat begins by the percussionists and the guitar swings into action and adds melody to the growing sound. This movement was very well-done.
Deathkamp Drone- An ambient drone leads up to the last movement. After several listens, I was able to notice the grace that Godspeed posessed on this piece.
Antennas to Heaven...- The drone morphs into noises that invoke the feeling of radio waves or something to that nature that float out towards space. I didn't used to think to highly of this movement, but after Modrock's comments on it, I gave it another listen. And then many more after that. This is truly one of the most amazing, poignant pieces of music I've ever heard. The perfect way to close the album. 10/10
Pros of Lift Your Skinny Fists...
-Is perfect to relax and listen to
-A great listen all the way through
-Every minute of tracks 1, 3 and 4 is superb
Cons of Lift Your Skinny Fists...
-A very lengthy listen. If you don't have time for this 87-minute-long album then dont bother. This should be listened to all the way through.
-Some segments may be a trifle "music-less." There are some times that there is nothing but a small noise, but it usually builds into something amazing.
Overall: I give Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven a 9.5/10
After listening to their first two albums, it doesnt take a genius to figure out that GY!BE has expanded their sound. Their first two albums deal with the emotions of despair and hopelessness, while Lift Your Skinny Fists... offers so much more. Another side of GY!BE's creativity is unveiled by incorporating an essence of hope within their arsenal of incredible music.