Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Kranky, 2020

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Some music is more about the experience than the melody. It can be mind-altering, synaesthesic, and textured; it can evoke strange emotions not normally experienced, designed to change the outlook or mental environment of the listener. One of my favorite examples of this is Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ; it is what in my younger years we called “trippy as fuck.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Add Godspeed You! Black Emperor to that list. Their second album, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven, is a challenging journey; sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes triggering memories, sometimes just providing an ambient dissonance thrown across your mind like the flung paint of a Jackson Pollock work.

GY!BE is a collective of musicians based out of Montreal; their performance ensemble often includes nine or more musicians, including a string trio and a multimedia performer. They release music sporadically at best, with only seven albums since the late 1990s. Their musical style is somewhere between trance, post-rock, and a muted take on electronica; it is laced with found media, voice samples, and otherworldly sounds. To me, they sound like the bastard child of Balmorhea and sound beamed in from outerspace, with just a touch of the off-kilter madness of The Residents.

So, yeah, listening to Lift… can be challenging. But is it any damn good?

I can only answer with a conditional yes—the condition being if you think you’re up for the cognitive dissonance and the challenge. Much like the aforementioned Residents, Captain Beefheart, or some of Zappa’s work, this stuff will make you think. I found myself backing up the track I was listening to (and note I am not reviewing by tracks; tracks seem somewhat incidental on Lift…) and concentrating on it, trying to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. This is not background music for your household chores, unless you have very odd household chores.

Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven is considered by many to be an underground classic. For me, at least, it broke new musical ground, and that’s tough to do. I really don’t even want to give it a rating; I’d prefer to let the music speak for itself. But what the heck…

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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