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Nikki Stout writesAlbum Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor makes music for contemplation—for time slowed down, for places standing still, for futures on hold. Listening to a Godspeed You! album is like reading a Cormack McCarthy novel, churning through deliciously austere layers to find the soul within. There are villains, there are struggles, there is loss.

Written while on their final tour pre-COVID and recorded during the second wave of the pandemic, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END explores what hope looks like in end times for the Montreal collective. That’s not to say G_d’s Pee is off brand for Godspeed You!, or even that it forces new perspective. It simply continues to roll the stone up the hill with enough grace to wipe the sweat from its brow. 

G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END gets down to it quickly. This is a good thing. For the incredible landscapes that this band can paint, the quick attack on this release is a welcome approach after a year of forced sitting and waiting. It sprawls and it crawls and it sings and it scans. It plays with radio frequencies, it finds its way to a major key. This is not an hallelujah, it is a revolution. It is a defiance to the social infrastructures that have failed us. By flipping the instrumental script and spotlighting End Times we visit the moment the cities were burned, rather than surveying the land afterwards. 

G_d’s Pee could have only been recorded and released during a global pandemic. As a follow up to 2017’s Luciferian Towers, G_d’s Pee features a similar list of demands as an artist’s statement. For an instrumental collective, they certainly do not mince words. The guitar tones are crunchier than those on Luciferian Towers, and the previously mentioned radio frequencies blend seamlessly with the more symphonic elements of this record, as heard on ""GOVERNMENT CAME" (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz).” The tracking on this album is unique for the band’s discography, with the longest song coming in at just over 11 minutes. Once again, this is a good thing. For as much as it is a scathing rejection of how we got to where we are, G_d’s Pee demands that its listeners do not despair, as inch by inch we crawl further toward liberation.

G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END closes in revolt. "OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.)" is as accusatory as it is revelatory. Our side—the side of anti-racism, of anti-imperialism, of equity and equality—fights on, through an embrace of the end as nothing more than an opportunity for beginning.

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Topics: album review, g_d's pee at state's end, godspeed you black emperor, gybe

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