Montreal’s avant-classical ensemble Godspeed You! Black Emperor has made apocalypse its business over six studio albums stretching from 1997. The seventh instrumental outing, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! (Constellation) may be the most complex and unrelentingly bleak. But one is reminded of Baptist preacher William Miller in the 1830s, who predicted the end of the world so many times, his movement was nicknamed “The Great Disappointment.” Should we worry that Godspeed’s music reaches a frenzy at a time of possible hope? Maybe, but it’s still fun to bring out the hellfire and brimstone.
The opening track “Military Alphabet” sounds like robots riffing on Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” until the movement breaks into banks of violins emphatically repeating “Job’s Lament.” Eight tracks shift from puzzling to profound, until “OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN” closes the album with the aura of Beethoven’s Fifth. And while ensemble founders Efrim Menuck and Mauro Pezzente may be pulling our leg, doom never sounded so good.
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Jon Klages, Fabulous Twilight (Danbury Fair) – As an early purveyor of the Hoboken Sound out of New Jersey, Klages has worked with everyone from The Individuals to Yo La Tengo to Richard Lloyd of Television. His first true solo full-length work features mellow blue-eyed soul reminiscent of mid-period Boz Scaggs, save for his moments of sly humor, in “Kazoos Are People Too” and “God Bless the Columbia House Record Club.” Klages’ tribute to his grandfather, producer Enoch Light, will leave listeners wondering why he hasn’t offered solo work since a 1984 EP.