G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor albums are typically accompanied by a collective ideological statement of intent from the Montreal instrumental ensemble. And coming in the midst of a pandemic that has greatly magnified the societal inequalities they’ve always railed against, the missive/press release that accompanies G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! practically reads like a ransom note, with calls to “take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise” and “tax the rich until they're impoverished,” among others. But where they were once the doomsday prophets of pre-millennium post-rock, the band's response to the intensifying turmoil of 21st-century life is to radiate an ever-greater degree of positivity through their music. Godspeed's seventh album adheres to a similar structure as their post-reunion releases (with two mammoth, multi-sectional movements each flanked by a shorter piece) while tapping into a similar spirit of hard-fought perseverance. However, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is distinguished by its heightened sense of clarity and levity. In contrast to the sustained, swelling drones of 2017’s Luciferian Towers and the defiant doom-metal behemoths of 2015’s Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, this set’s opening four-track suite gradually blossoms from a minimalist, militaristic march into a delirious orchestral swirl, before entering an extended comedown jam that suggests ’70s Floyd jamming with Crazy Horse. The equally expansive companion piece (spread over tracks 6 and 7) likewise travels from desolate valleys to staggering peaks and back again, but rallies for a triumphant victory-lap gallop that could very well count as the most elating piece of music this band has ever produced. Even the brief meditative ambient symphony that closes the record is embedded with inspirational energy—it’s called “OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN,” so consider G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! a sonic premonition of the better, more humane world that awaits us on the other side.