Review Summary: I don't want to raise your expectations, but this record is perfect.What have you done in the last 28 minutes?
In 1999, Canadian post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor had a really big problem, but Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada
could quite easily serve to convince you that the band had no fu
idea. F# A# Who?
, they asked. If matching their phenomenal, dark debut album seemed unlikely, the bookies weren't even offering odds
on an improvement second time around. This was a group of musicians that in one fell swoop had practically reinvented instrumental music with the apocalyptic textures and motifs they set to disc in 1997. But not only did Godspeed live up to any and all expectations, they absolutely obliterated their own masterpiece and every piece of hyperbole attached to it. With a fuc
This is - quite simply - probably the best EP you'll ever hear. Post-rock struggles so frequently to find the right balance of build and crescendo, but this is a record which proves that the atmosphere-setting of so many other releases in the genre is little but an ineffective extravagance if you know how to bring a climax about well enough in the first place. The strings and cymbals of 'Moya' rise at an uncharacteristically rapid rate through the various floors of excitement and fervour, before exploding through the roof eight minutes in. Gone are the builds; Slow Riot
cuts to the chase, not through haste, but embraced by urgency; like even two-thirds through 'Blaise Bailey Finnegan III' when it's so obvious
the climax is coming, when the cymbals grow and the guitars come forwards, but it doesn't dampen the effect.
No, Godspeed are playing with us; they know we expect them to tell us a story and evoke the whole environment like they did at the start of 'The Dead Flag Blues'. They know we're prepared for a gradual rise in tension, so they skip gears. And then there's 'BBFIII', Slow Riot
's only spoken sample a crazy man rambling about paying his speeding ticket and not taking any bullsh
it from a judge or the world or the government or the people out to get you. The strings hang in behind him, just about supporting his angry tone, but without any conviction, as he clenches his fists at the smallest of things and protests his point far too much; it's mesmerizing, as the music flows around his voice, occasionally interrupting it, how little and how much he seems to say at the same time; how he seems to have been talking forever, but you can still remember the first thing he said.
The Hebrew on Slow Riot
's packaging suggests void and emptiness. Its place there, wrapped around the passionate, self-important monologue from 'BBFIII' and the mournful outro of the same track, sheds a different light on the meaning
behind these two songs, this one incredible half-hour of symphonic composition. Somehow, these waves of bass, wailing guitars and pounding drums add up to a spectrum of emotion from doubt right through to rebellion, without ever seeming schizophrenic or confused. What Finnegan, and (vicariously) Godspeed are saying is that nobody's really got the slightest clue what's going on in the world but that shouldn't stop you making the most of it. With that in mind: what have you done in the last 28 minutes?
You should at the very least have been listening to this album.