Go Tell Fire to the Mountain 4/5 Don’t read this review! Okay, if you’re still reading, you’re probably already a fan of Wu Lyf, the uncompromising outfit who’ve ridden a rail of anti-hype to cult acclaim faster than you can say ‘Arctic Monkeys’. So far most of the ink that’s been spilled on Wu Lyf has concentrated on their mysterious nature – how they rarely grant interviews, refuse to play the corporate game and are loath to play shows outside their native Manchester.
All this strikes us as a bit contrived – nobody acts that conspicuously inexplicable because they don’t want people to know who they are, and they’ve even gone to the trouble of designing a cool logo (a cross between a crucifix and the rune for ‘defence’).
Fortunately, Wu Lyf’s music is worthy of attention on its own merits. The trappings of the band’s sound are resolutely grungey, and frontman Ellery Roberts’s ragged howl is reminiscent of – if not twinned with – that of Royal Trux singer Neil Hagarty. The production is studiedly lo-lo-fi, the whole album saturated in a Jesus And Mary Chain-esque echo, which makes it sound like it was recorded in a sensory-deprivation tank.
As anyone who’s seen them live will tell you, though, their occasionally shoegazey fuzzovertures are delivered while staring the audience right in the eyeballs. This desire to impress is apparent in the band’s sonic architecture, and gives the likes of ‘Concrete Gold’ its winningly anthemic quality. Despite their obvious talent for PR, the skyscraping melodies and ambitious songwriting mean even the relatively jangly likes of ‘Cave Song’ will function equally well on the mega-stages to which Wu Lyf clearly aspire.