Godspeed You! Black Emperor
All Lights Fucked On the Hairy Amp Drooling


3.0
good

Review

by figurehead of "built different" EMERITUS
February 28th, 2022 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Finding grace in idiotsongs

At last, the mythic first recordings of one Godspeed You! Black Emperor have seen the light of day! Thought for decades to have been buried by the sands of time, All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling (henceforth referred to as ALFOTHAD) represents the prenatal days of the post-rock trailblazers, and is now exposed to the world for every two-bit music snob to heap their judgment upon. It’s an unenviable position for an album to be in: mythologized and hyped for the better part of twenty years as Godspeed’s long-lost “real” first album, while still being very much what it is, which is a collection of demos and live recordings cobbled together by a nearly-penniless high-school dropout named Efrim Menuck. Taken as a historical curiosity, you could probably have guessed that it’s at the very least interesting, and interesting it very much is. However, most of the people invested in GY!BE as the coherent musical endeavor they are now will benefit here mainly through being disabused of any notions that this band might have sprung fully-formed from the ether. Menuck put in the time to make Godspeed the innovators they were. This album is the sound of him putting in that time.

On the one hand, ALFOTHAD is not especially good. Of course it's not especially good! The recording budget was somewhere in the dozens; Godspeed You! Black Emperor had neither the personnel nor the polish that made their turn-of-the-century classics what they were. Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven wasn't recorded on a four-track, and for damn good reason. Furthermore, any pretensions of a fulfilling holistic experience are out the window almost entirely. Transitions are awkward or abrupt when they aren't just non-existent, and different tracks explore wildly different styles without much in the way of thematic cohesion. The singing is both amateurish and frequent— how often that's charming and how often it's grating ought to be left up to each individual listener, but I doubt most will be sold on all of it (and I'll put money on "Dadmomdaddy" in particular being a sticking point for many). If their studio albums are graphic novels, ALFOTHAD is a sketchbook with noticeable water damage: disorganized, piecemeal, and often irredeemably sloppy as a finished product.

On the other hand, ALFOTHAD is pretty great. Of course it's pretty great! Did you think Menuck was magically gifted the talent and vision needed to conjure F# A# ∞ in 1996? It's missing the scope and romance of Godspeed’s landmark records, but we've been getting those things a la carte on every album they’ve released since 2012— who on Earth would want this to just be more crescendos? No, this thing can barely even be called post-rock— about half of it aims for lo-fi, experimental pop in a Guided By Voices/Daniel Johnston vein, while the other half recalls the squealing tape music freak-outs of early Residents or Ween. All of it is sweaty and grimy and urban, in all the ways GY!BE's post-reunion output is roundly worse off for not being. They've spent the last 25 years burying their streetwise punk edge under cataclysmic grandeur, but ALFOTHAD peels all that nonsense back to reveal that said edge is, in fact, the very thing that made this band so darn compelling in the first place. Listen to the drug-addled ramblings on “Buried Ton” and you can hear the fascination with odd characters and unusual perspectives that will eventually become masterstrokes like “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III” and “Chart #3”. “Diminishing Shine” similarly reveals the origins of Godspeed’s trademark crunching guitar attack, stripping the blistering fury of “Kicking Horse on Brokenhill” and “World Police and Friendly Fire” down to a single guitar and two-ish minutes of unadorned, ear-cleansing chord worship. Though they often amount to little more than test runs, hesitant proddings at tones and tricks they’d return to more confidently on more complete-sounding albums, there’s a palpable excitement to be heard in these tracks’ sense of discovery, the giddiness of chancing upon an idea that really, genuinely works.

ALFOTHAD is, as a whole, sub-par in a way you would expect from a talented young musician’s first attempts at writing and recording songs, yet it also captures much of the enthusiasm and freedom of those formative months and years, and in fits and starts even makes a case for why, in 1994, this might have been the start of something great. It has, within the scope of Godspeed's discography, an unrivaled capacity to surprise, to take the listener down winding rabbit holes towards fragments of a storied group's beginnings. Where GY!BE's recent studio outings have rang as increasingly perfunctory and businesslike, ALFOTHAD manages to turn the work of creating music into, in the words of Murray Bookchin, “something that is much more playful, much more joyous, much more self-expressive”. Who’s to say anarchism can’t be any fun?



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user ratings (108)
2.9
good
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Pekke (4.5)
Ladies and gentlemen, "all lights fucked on the hairy amp drooling"...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Kompys2000
Emeritus
February 28th 2022


9487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

3.25/5



My favorite tracks are "Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s)" and "Revisionist Alternif Wounds To The Hairkut Hit Head" but you should listen to the whole thing tbh



buy the album and support the CJPME's campaign to provide medical oxygen to the Gaza Strip

https://godspeedyoublackemperor.bandcamp.com/album/all-lights-fucked-on-the-hairy-amp-drooling

Veldin
February 28th 2022


5322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool review!

Kompys2000
Emeritus
February 28th 2022


9487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

All reviews fucked on the hairy sput posting

dedex
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


12788 Comments


Cool review boi, will jam when I'll care

parksungjoon
March 1st 2022


47235 Comments


>All of it is sweaty and grimy and urban, in all the ways GY!BE's post-reunion output is roundly worse off for not being. They've spent the last 25 years burying their streetwise punk edge under cataclysmic grandeur, but ALFOTHAD peels all that nonsense back to reveal that it is, in fact, the very thing that made this band so darn compelling in the first place.


based and chadpilled

pos'd

VlacDrac
March 3rd 2022


2620 Comments


Who would've thought some /mu/ basement dwellers finally found this album.

GhandhiLion
March 11th 2022


17647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dObMnLuaj8A

GhandhiLion
March 11th 2022


17647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Three Three Three, Beep and Diminishing Shine are really really good



tectactoe
March 11th 2022


7541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Dunno why I haven't peeped this, considering I love just about everything else Godspeed has done. DL'ing now.

tectactoe
March 11th 2022


7541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Dadmomdaddy supremacy

Kompys2000
Emeritus
March 12th 2022


9487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lol dadmomdaddy has still not really clicked with me, all about revisionist alternatif

GhandhiLion
March 18th 2022


17647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Shouldn't this be an album

Kompys2000
Emeritus
March 18th 2022


9487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Perhaps, if you wanna hit up the meds thread about it I'm sure they can get it sorted

Tunaboy45
April 28th 2022


18470 Comments


All lights? Fucked.
Hairy amp? Drooling.

Yep, it's Godspeed time.

parksungjoon
April 28th 2022


47235 Comments


hell yeah enjoy

tectactoe
April 28th 2022


7541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

new park avatar, i’m not ready for this

parksungjoon
April 28th 2022


47235 Comments


and we werent ready for schulze to be taken

parksungjoon
May 17th 2022


47235 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0tzYf41TDg

JefferyPigglestein
April 18th 2023


223 Comments


2.9 i hate you all

when are we getting boards of canadas early stuff fr

parksungjoon
May 1st 2023


47235 Comments


i hate you all [2]



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