Sneaking an album out to the public regardless of the mass of information that seems to leak (including albums and other music related info) in this day and age seems completely fitting with regards to the first album in over ten years from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their well communicated anti-corporatist and sometimes luddite-esque demeanor; but instead of such political stances, the release of Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is more a testament to the seething organic nature of this maverick band.
As interesting and welcome an event for some that Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s return from a thirteen year absence to drop Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is, the real proof of the collective’s power resides in the actual music of this album which drones forth with accompanying eastern motifs on “Mladic” announcing the return of this revered outfit, pointing to the timeless nature of their sound which relies on no real “flavor of the day” that could possibly date them. I mean the people that make up Godspeed You! Black Emperor seems to completely exist outside of the trappings of time (no genre or time or scene to saddle their music with a sloppy and lazy description and even the internet barely impacted the release of the album), and the band somehow evades all audience expectations that might be heaped upon their impressive reputation by simply delivering what they feel in an honest and open manner night in and night out and on every record.
For my part, I do enjoy the two longer pieces on the album as both “Mladic” and “Their Helicopters Sing” seem to have a breadth and space that the two shorter compositions do not (this is not to say that “We Drift Like Worried Fire” or “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps…” are or feel abbreviated in any way nor are they simply throwaway inclusions as the former contains some enviable and glorious droning), and with this breadth, listeners are given the chance to get lost in the drones and dark mood of “Mladic” or the lush strings and lighter feeling of the cinematic and soaring “Their Helicopters Sing”.
Listening to Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! makes me forget that there was a time when the lights in the Godspeed You! Black Emperor had gone dark because it is every bit as triumphant as any other release that the group has produced in their time (actually, this album is my second favorite from them thus far), and if people ask me if Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is a good introduction to the “God’s Pee” collective, I do give a decisive, “sure”; the album contains all the hallmarks for which we all know and love Godspeed You! Black Emperor… welcome back.