Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
Live Review: Wu Lyf
Village Underground, London, June 17th
They arrive onstage to ghostly wolf howls, with their equipment set up beneath their now-customary giant illuminated crucifix-like symbol. Set and album opener ‘LYF’ sets the tone immediately as singer Ellery Roberts screeches and howls like a man possessed. ‘Cave Song’ consists of a Broken Social Scene skeleton with Frank Black vocals, while the organ backing is reminiscent of a Pentecostal preacher. Although the vocal theatrics are all in place, there’s a niggling feeling that, perhaps, it might somehow just… not suffice to have four guys merely playing away merrily onstage. Surely there ought to be more to WU LYF than this? Where’s the sacrificial goat? Or, at the very least, the audience participation?
Luckily, just as ‘Summas Bliss’ leaves the crowd wondering whether Wu Lyf can carry the weight of the critical expectations placed upon their shoulders, there’s a fantastic, rhythmic two-player drum breakdown, which segues straight into joyous single ‘Spitting Blood’. After ‘Concrete Gold’ seems to have sealed the deal, the group mysteriously leave the stage. The same ghostly music from the beginning of the set plays, the obnoxious strobe lights that have been flickering all evening are turned down, and things get interesting.
Dimly-lit, chests bare, beneath the glow of the crucifix, Wu Lyf launch into the demonic ‘Heavy Pop’. This is more like it. By the time encore ‘We Bros’ comes around, the stage has been crashed by punters, and the crowd-surfing is well underway. Some have grabbed drums and are pounding them Bacchanal-style, others are pouring water over their heads, one is simply jumping up and down excitedly. It’s an end-of-days party, and it’s only just begun. Energetic, vibrant and bountiful – Lucifer Youth Foundation, unite.
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