Will Schube is the joker running away from the princes, best piece in hand
Listening to an excerpt of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song is a bit like watching a single scene from an Altman ensemble film. You get a taste of a fragment, but nothing close to the interrelated universe created from the ground up. While the cinematic metaphors attached to Godspeed don’t end there, the band has always created music more operatic than filmic. Soundtracks aid an image, an opera is its own existence. There’s so much going on within each moment of GY!BE’s music that using it as a supplement to something different is unfair to both works.
After a ten year hiatus, Godspeed returned in 2012 with Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, a gorgeous record — equal parts song cycle and an exercise in the climactic. The band has just released a teaser from their forthcoming record, the also mysteriously titled Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress.
The portion of the track we’re offered, separated from its context, is all massive guitar moans and drum thumps. Simplistic destruction. There’s a pulsating, underlying drone that gives the track an anchor, allowing the melodic instruments to explore uncharted territory. The track feels angrier than Godspeed’s earlier work which is likely the result of a subtly political band increasingly fed up with the global shitstorm we’ve thrust upon ourselves.
“Pleasantry” is power chords and brass balls, a joyous fire dance to the rapturous post-everything world we live in. While this excerpt is a piece of a piece of the Godspeed puzzle, it’s just nice knowing they’re around. As things become more digitized and friendships are equatable to Instagram likes, it’s nice to know that there are still some good guys left. As they say, “The album [Asunder] is available . . . on CD in a 100% recycled custom paperboard jacket, and on all manner of formats in our fractured digital marketplace.” Consider Godspeed the princes of putting the pieces back together.