Never ones to acknowledge any kind of music-industry standards or practices (other than tracing major labels' links to the military on the back cover of 2003's Yanqui U.X.O.), the Montréal-based post-rock orchestra Godspeed You! Black Emperor took a hiatus in 2003, shortly before both their genre and city's music scene hit critical mass. Now that interest in those musical scenes has waned (or maybe because interest has waned) the brigade has risen from its dormancy, touring extensively and now — as in today, right now — announced a new full-length, titled 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Although the record's official release date is a couple of weeks away, as Pitchfork points out, the band began selling the LP (or LP, plus a 7-inch of the drones that separate its 20-minute-plus tracks on the CD) at its gig last night in Boston.
The album's four tracks are just as transcendent and resplendent as fans would hope for -- and they ought to be since they've already existed for a while. The meat of the album is two epic-length cuts. The first is titled "Mladic," but was previously known as "Albanian," and it stems from a dark drone eventually building to an electric guitar playing a jagged, Mediterranean melody (is it Turkish? Greek? Albanian?). It devolves, as Godspeed songs are wont to do, until become just buzzing and klick-klacking. The other lengthy track, "We Drift Like Worried Fire," was previously known as "Gamelan," and while the previous title's titular instrument doesn't bandy about the song (some of the cymbal work sounds like the xylophone-like instrument though), it has a mellow-yet-brooding quality most of the time, thanks to tense violin and guitar lines. Like most Godspeed songs, though, its mood is fluid. The album also contains two six-plus-minute "drones," "Their Helicopters' Sing" and "Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable," which the group recorded at its jam space and respectively boast discordant and noisy soundscapes, akin to 20th Century classical music. It's a fitting soundtrack for the album's desolate cover and, dare we say from what we've heard, worth the wait.
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! comes out officially on October 16, via Constellation Records.