2021, Music

G_d’s Pee at SATE’s END! (2021) by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

From the first moments of Lift Your Skinny Fists, I was in love. I was at the height of my prog rock phase and I had no idea post rock existed. I had no idea Canadians were making ambitious music vaguely in the prog rock tradition at the very time that I was alive and discovering new music. And though my tastes have changed over the last 20 years, I have not stopped loving this band. I find it hard to be critical of them despite the flaws in their music I know exist and I kind of lost my mind over Luciferian Towers despite basically nobody else liking it as much as the rest of oeuvre.

But though this record was an absolute, very pleasant surprise to me, I find myself for the first time wondering how excited I can actually get. Make no mistake, I really like the music on this album. The two big tracks are, in some ways, as effective as anything they’ve done, from a dynamics standpoint. But I find myself hearing things in the music now that I didn’t hear before, things that suggest that they are tired or maybe I am (very slowly) getting tired of them.

For one thing, this is the first time I can remember actually hearing echoes of ’70s prog rock in their music. Sure, prog rock influenced this subgenre of post rock, how could it not? (As a side note, I read someone describe this subgenre as “crescendo core,” which is a hilarious but very apt name for the genre.) But there are moments here where I think I can hear traces of straight-up similarity. Maybe that’s been here all a long and I was never able to hear it before.

The other thing is that, more than on any other record of theirs to this point, I hear the slightest of shoegaze influences. Again, maybe this has been here the whole time, but I’ve never noticed it before. And I find it odd that I’m hearing it now, this far removed from shoegaze and this far into their career.

What this amounts to for me is that the bloom is off the rose, at least intellectually. I still find the music really viscerally enjoyable but I now find myself wondering if I am no longer content with getting ridiculously excited about a new GY!BE record that sounds like every other GY!BE record. Maybe that part of my life is now over.


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