Godspeed You! Black Emperor, one of the most genre-defining Canadian indie bands, launched a derivative “third wave” of post-rock in the early 2000s. Their latest four-track, 55-minute album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! follows a decade-long hiatus and was highly anticipated by the indie community before its short-notice release. While there are moments of creativity and melodic sensibility on this album, it ultimately leaves the listener unsatisfied. Twenty minutes of plodding stubbornly in one key gives the opening track, “Mladic,” a feeling of stagnation, despite its heavy riffs and fast tempo. “We Drift Like Worried Fire” begins intriguingly, but the rest of the song falls flat. One is much better served by listening to the far superior mid-90s post-rock by Mogwai or Tortoise than the pretentious drivel on Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! While every track on the album is well-executed, its composition is disappointing. Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is a collection that borders on self-parody, a crescendo-climbing mess.

—James Hayes




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