Personally, I thought it was a great shame when WU LYF decided to call it quits. In my view, their overstated, larger-than-life debut Go Tell Fire To The Mountain was one of the greatest triumphs of 2011. Their music felt like a mighty apocalyptic kick in the groin that sounded a hell of a lot more passionate than your average indie band. With the use of religious undertones and grand statements, they became more than just a band, seeking freedom by preaching their enlightened anarchistic revelations to those who felt alienated by the acts of governments and their use of political control (which to some extend spoke to all of us). It felt as though they burned all their vigor in one monumental blast of fire, to the point where it became hard to visualize a furtherance of their existence. But the way Ellery James Roberts, the screaming prophet of a politically indifferent generation, decided to pull the plug with a brief statement declaring that “WU LYF is dead to me”, surprised even his WU LYF band mates. Since then the rest of the band moved on by forming the summery feel-good band of Los Porcos, but it seems as it is Ellery James Roberts who best carries the spirit of WU LYF onwards.
On “Kerou’s Lament” Roberts delivers the same anthemic crescendos as he did on Go Tell Fire. Except from Evans Kati’s brilliant stadium-size guitar-play, everything you might expect from a WU LYF song is rightfully in place. Over borrowed beats from Clams Casino’s “I’m God”, Roberts puts on an epic show with fully orchestrated synthesizers, soaring horns and his intensive raspy chants with more distinguishable lyrics than previously. But there is a difference; instead of WU LYF’s apocalyptic war-like declarations, the culminating mantra of “Kerou’s Lament” places Roberts own personal struggle at the center with the emotive “no-bullshit” statement of “To the powers of old, to the powers that be. You fucked up this world but you won’t fuck with me”, where Roberts provides one of this year’s most sing-along friendly choruses, transcending everything he accomplished with his former band. Still, “Kerou’s Lament” feels wide-eyed, almost positive, as if doomsday is put on hold, declaring every person in control of their destiny.
I saw WU LYF twice in small shitty clubs but I always secretly wished that the band would grow big enough to play in-front of a 30.000 festival crowd where I believed their stadium-sized anthems would’ve peaked to glorious heights. As it turns out Ellery James Robert can carry the torch all on his own. Give him couple more years, and he could well become a Springsteen-like phantom of a new generation.
- Kerou’s Lament – Ellery James Roberts (surfingsaxophone.com)
- Listen: Former WU LYF frontman Ellery James Robert’s self-released debut single ‘Kerou’s Lament’. (analogtapes.wordpress.com)
- Stream: Ellery James Roberts, “Kerou’s Lament” (thefader.com)
- Listen to Ellery James Roberts’ breakout single ‘Kerou’s Lament’ (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- listen to ex-WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts’ new song (brooklynvegan.com)
- WU LYF – Ellery James Roberts = Los Porcos (willowwoodmusic.com)