Customer Review

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss Me You�re Beautiful... These Are Truly the Last Days, 7 Jan 2004
This review is from: F# A# Oo (Audio CD)
In the tradition of Radiohead's classic OK Computer, Godspeed You Black Emperor's strangely titled F#A# Oo takes on the notion of modern day living and the fears that can arise from such; to create a pitch-black parable that unfolds like a fairytale. The defining factor of this would seem to be social alienation; with the music conjuring images in our minds of loners stalking highways at night, or deranged madmen sat ranting on park benches of the impending apocalypse. The entire feel of the album is schizophrenic, with aggressive guitar solos offering us an almost-biblical demonstration of fury, whilst string arrangements then enter to undercut this with a more quite and reflective sound.
The opening number, Dead Flag Blues even has a bagpipe solo that is layered alongside violins, a slide-guitar and a voice reminiscent of the late Johnny Cash presenting us with a poetic allegory of social injustice and technological overload. "We're trapped inside the machine and the machine is burning", or so we are told before the music grows stronger and stronger with intensity. From this point on the mood is unrelenting... as is the awe-inspiring talent of the band and the depth and intelligence of their ideas. The second track, presumably titled East Hasting due to the number of mental patients that are apparently residents of the said coastal town, should be familiar to anyone who has seen Danny Boyle's much underrated horror film, 28 Days Later.
This composition builds on the style and ideas developed in the opening track, beginning as it does with incomprehensible ranting in a foreign language, backed by keyboard effects and a string section. This cut leads us into one of the most furiously layered guitar solos that I've ever heard, moving through different tempos and time signatures before the incorporation of an almost Bernard Herman style violin performance, circa Hitchcock's Psycho. This track brings to mind images of complete and utter isolation and desolation of both mankind and society in general; whilst presenting the listener with twenty-minutes of pure unadulterated rage... no wonder Boyle chose this for inclusion in his film. Somewhere between the closing minutes of this song and the final number, I'm sure I remember the inclusion of a very sweet and gentle accordion solo: which just goes to show the extremity of this band's worldview.
Providence seems to point to such; the idea of a pre-destined reality that we cannot define, faced with the image of ourselves spinning out of control towards complete and utter burnout. It lightens the mood to some extent, offering us an element of hope to break through the cracks of the first two compositions, whilst tying up the ideas previously developed in a strong and coherent way. This is a beautiful but demanding work... but it's also rewarding in a way I cannot describe. So what else can I say...? "These are truly the last days".
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Sep 2008 13:27:20 BDT
Asbo says:
East Hasting does not refer to Hastings in the UK, but Hastings Street in Vancouver.
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