Efrim Manuel Menuck is part of the band “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” (more often referred to as Godspeed) though they have called themselves many other things for more artistic freedom and also cause they’re kinda dicks. This little known Montreal band back in the day released an album called “F♯ A♯ ∞”. A song called East Hastings off the album made it into the film no-shut-up-you’re-obsessive hit zombie cult classic “28 days later”. Anyone who has walked through the forest of heroin addicts on the notorious East Hastings, which the song is named after (located in Vancouver), will instantly recognize why any song named after the place would work well in a zombie flick.
But it was the album “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” in 2000 that put Godspeed on the map. You see, Canada went from a musical drought (outside of Neil Young, Glenn Gould, and Rush) to the 2000s. During which, some say due to the rise of this thing called “The Internet”, Canada produced an overwhelming boom of artists and musicians like: Women, Peaches, Julie Doiron, Broken Social Scene (with offshoots from this like: Feist, Do Make Say Think, Emily Haines, Amy Millan, Stars, KC Accidental, and Jason Collett), Arcade Fire, Gonzales, The Dears, Great Lake Swimmers, The Hidden Cameras, Frog Eyes, Destroyer, Caribou (also called Manitoba and Daphni), Death From Above 1979, Tegan and Sara, The Unicorns and so, so, many more (holy fucking fuck Canucks!) Montreal, seemingly overnight, became the musical centre of the world.
Cut to 18 years later, Godspeed has continued to produce wonderful and experimental soundscape music. Efrim released his first solo album called “Plays ‘High Gospel” in 2011 and now he is onto his second.
Onto the fucking album already! : This is a drone heavy album. It’s actually dark and menacing drones that wrap most of this album in a bow. True to Efrim’s form, the music is atmospheric and heavy. It’s a theme that seems to run through anything Godspeed related, acting like a dirt in which everything else can grow out of. Lines like, “It’s a big mess that needs cleaning up. People are going to survive, change as necessary” and ‘’Everything in pieces on the floor. The good times aren’t the good times anymore” help support these themes. Yet, in the midst of all this darkness, there’s a bit of light. The song Lamb in the Land of Payday Loans comes on like a fucking battlecry singing, “Put the kids in the car. Oh darlin’, let’s try to run” in a distorted punk harmony overtop of a playful drumbeat all done up in lipstick, leggings, and fucktons of reverb. Then, the rest of the album continues with this optimism, sounding at times like the spiritual moments of Beck and Spiritualized just put through a paper shredder and thrown out of a helicopter. The closing song, Pissing Stars, is one of the most optimistic things I’ve ever heard from anything Godspeed related. The album begins in a very dark and grumpy mood and slowly morphs into a happy and joyous one. What the fuck happened? Where did Efrim take me? Well, shit, this motherfucker just changed my mood and put me through an emotional rollercoaster… and I have to say, it was a blast.