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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

( 6 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Glen Sarvady
Montreal's Godspeed You Black Emperor! have parlayed a media-avoidance strategy into an underground phenomenon more successfully than any band in recent memory. The nine-piece collective's basic components remain largely unchanged from their two earlier releases, but on Lift Your Skinny Fists, their minimalist drones more frequently coalesce into bombastic crescendos. The string section at the music's core could pass for contemporary classical, if not for the lonesome ringing guitars, occasional bursts of rock drumming, ambient trance soundscapes, and superimposed field recordings of street preachers and other rants. This 87-minute, two-CD set includes just four tracks,...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Glen Sarvady
Montreal's Godspeed You Black Emperor! have parlayed a media-avoidance strategy into an underground phenomenon more successfully than any band in recent memory. The nine-piece collective's basic components remain largely unchanged from their two earlier releases, but on Lift Your Skinny Fists, their minimalist drones more frequently coalesce into bombastic crescendos. The string section at the music's core could pass for contemporary classical, if not for the lonesome ringing guitars, occasional bursts of rock drumming, ambient trance soundscapes, and superimposed field recordings of street preachers and other rants. This 87-minute, two-CD set includes just four tracks, each comprised of discrete movements that ebb and flow in intensity with more than a passing nod to '70s art rock. The highlight composition "Sleep" delivers everything that makes GYBE! special: Serene passages of mournful beauty gradually build to an urgent squall of eerie slide guitar and howling feedback that recalls Sonic Youth at its most grandiose. Lift Your Skinny Fists is a remarkable hybrid of sounds that will appeal to most corners of outsider music.
All Music Guide - Joslyn Layne
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, the much-anticipated follow-up to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Slow Riot, is a double-disc achievement of four works each with multiple parts: "Storm," "Static," "Sleep," and "Antennas to Heaven." It is a windfall for any fan of ambient pop, orchestral rock, space rock, or simply lush string arrangements who understands how powerful love, melancholy, and frustration can be. The main complaint voiced by critics of Godspeed's music is that their works just repeat the same pattern: start out sparse and slow, build-build-build, crescendo. While there are certainly crescendos, there is no such predictable pattern repeated among the works on Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven -- it's loaded with dynamics, unexpected sections, strong emotions and beauty. The album opener, "Storm," is a leap for GY!BE that, alone, makes this release worth getting. It's a rapturous work that rises with a potent melancholy, driven by heartrending emotions. "Storm" vents a powerful frustration each listener can insert their own reasons why with majestic screams of strings, guitars, and layers, resulting in a climactic and passionate soaring. It eventually winds down into an exhausted aftermath of piano, underlying drones, and frustrated rants. The second piece, "Static," is a wandering, isolationist piece of bleak expanses shaded with darker emotions, but the remaining two works raise the album back up to the impressive standard set by the opening cut, though with less furor and even more loveliness. "Sleep" opens with an elderly gentleman reminiscing about Coney Island, and his frank and amusing narration briefly recalls the recordings of David Greenberger and scenes from the documentary Vernon, FL. This narration is followed by a slow and melodic piece featuring a pseudo-theremin effect amidst all of the other instrumentation. "Antennas to Heaven" opens with someone playing acoustic guitar, singing "What'll We Do with the Baby-O," soon washed over with sound, which then gives way to a brief chorus of glockenspiels, and on. During most of Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, musical and emotional opposites alternate as regularly, and naturally, as breathing: delicate string work and rock-out guitar and drums, spoken word and walls of sound, gracious and possessed, tip-toes and cliff-diving, dark hallways and blinding sunshine.
Spin Magazine - Mike Rubin
Brooding, funereal, even apocalyptic, the band's orchestral maneuvers in the dark rise to remarkable heights of melancholic beauty, all while standing on the dirge of getting it on.

Brooding, funereal, even apocalyptic, the band's orchestral maneuvers in the dark rise to remarkable heights of melancholic beauty, all while standing on the dirge of getting it on.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/7/2000
  • Label: Kranky
  • UPC: 796441804320
  • Catalog Number: 43
  • Sales rank: 15,079

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Primary Artist, Group
Technical Credits
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Greatness, interrupted.

    I held off for years before buying this intriguing piece of music, only to discover that I had made big mistake ... not in waiting so long, but in buying it whatsoever. ....... Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once submitted this two word review of Joseph Heller's novel Something Happened: "Nothing does." After reading one flattering review after another of this disc and this band, I placed disc one in my player with great anticipation of the layer upon layer of swelling musical ideas that would build up to powerful summit after powerful summit. Alas, what I hear is Hearts-of-Space-ish chord washes and minimalist instrument progressions that -- just when the drums kick in and the guitar gets a little noisy and a slight bit of hummable melody introduces itself -- sadly, slithers back into ten more minutes of aimless droning. ............So many other musicians do longform musical ideas so much better -- seek out live Praxis, or even At War With Self and the Gordian Knot discs. Godspeed You Black Emperor may be sexy on paper, but in the reality of my headphones it is a veritable plain Jane.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Finally, music I can relate to.

    Before I go on, I have to warn you that Godspeed You! Black Emperor is NOT for everyone. They are only for those who can truly appreciate music and all of it's complexity. But if you are looking for something that is entirely different than nearly anything you've ever heard, read on. Now THIS album is something I can relate to. To me it is purely emotional, I hardly even look at it as music. Whether it be a beautiful and glorious melody or the type of eerie music that can give you nightmares, it will take you to another world...a world much darker than ours (for the most part). GY!BE is what you could call a rock orchestra, consisting of everything from a french horn to a cello to a violin. Not much is known about them, not even the amount of musicians in the band is certain. But whoever these guys may be, I must say that they are absolutely brilliant. This is one of my all time favorite albums. Their songs are similarly structured, in that they build and build until they reach their peak, and then the music comes crashing down into a new movement. There are about four movements in each of these songs. Storm is the most "diverse" song on the album in my opinion...it has everything from beautiful soundscaping to a dark and eerie melody in the middle of it. The opening movement is my personal favorite, in all its glory. Static is the type of song to give a child nightmares. It opens up with a new-age preacher speaking over a softly played violin, and then the actual song comes in. It is loosely structured, and at about 11 minutes into it, it explodes and will send shivers down your spine as you quiver in fear. Sleep, my personal favorite track, is by far the most emotional. The beginning is tear jerking as you listen to an elderly gentlemen remembering his youth...about Coney Island. "They don't sleep anymore on the beach." Overall the song is melancholy and has their most intense peaks in their music on the album. The wailing in the background is so eerie and spine-tingling, but I have never heard a more emotional song, especially in the triumphant finale. Finally, Antennas to Heaven, which is the shortest track, comes on, and it completely wipes away the sad feeling you had gotten from Sleep. Though there isn't nearly as much actual music on this song as the others, when the music does play, it is mindblowing. The explosion at 5:30 into the song is spectacular, and the finishing glockenspiel duet just makes me want to jump up and dance. The entire album on the whole is quite emotional, and the music is quite confusing. It will take a couple of listens to come up with the meaning of it all to yourself, and the concept will vary with every person. To me the album shows a glimpse of the end of the world, but with some hope thrown in. But again, this is not for everyone, and this is not easy listening. If you are ready for something like nothing you've ever heard before, go out and get this. If you are just getting into post-rock, get this. If you are a long time fan of post-rock and for some odd reason don't have this album, go out and buy it now. Be prepared to be blown away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Gorgeous and Difficult

    Godspeed's sprawling double CD album shimmers and grates in all the right moments. You get the sense Mozart and Stockhausen would rush out and buy it if they were alive today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Space/Dream/Chamber music at it's best.

    This is one of the greatest space rock albums I've ever heard. It's long, but it's never boring. My favourite track would be "Sleep" because it keeps your attention so well, but the whole album is great. Anyone who listens to Mogwai or Sigur Ros should check them out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    TEARS OF JOY!

    GYBE! is unquestionably the last great rock band of the 20th century and the best hope for what rock music can become in the 21st century. it is hard to describe the gamut of emotions this music will wrench out of you. it's like taking a mysterious ride through heaven and hell and back to heaven again. don't tell anyone about this group and perhaps they'll stay pure. this music will bring tears of joy to your eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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