Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Artist of the Day: Ellery Roberts

After all the confusion which cast a shadow over 2013's latter stages, the inevitable has finally been confirmed; WU LYF are no more. Through a series of interviews and subsequent activities, a picture has gradually emerged of a chaotic and somewhat acrimonious split, with the other band members apparently only made aware of Ellery Roberts' departure when he uploaded that message and accompanying final song, "T R I U M P H," back in November. In retrospect, it's a wonder there was ever any doubt. The words "WU LYF is dead to me" in particular seemed not only to signal  the singer's departure from the Mancunian outfit, but also his exodus from music as a whole; their tone perhaps suggesting he'd fallen out of love with it and was preparing to fade back to treasured obscurity. It was a shock, then, to see him reemerge last week - albeit in typically mysterious fashion, with a new track, "Kerou's Lament," presented with the bare minimum of information. There were a handful of credits, but no hint as to whether this was a solo track or a collaboration, or indeed whether it was a one-off or the beginning of something far more significant.

While the timing and presentation have led to much interest, the truth is that the song itself is enough to demand attention. Predictably, Roberts' voice operates as the centerpiece, but while his gnarly, otherworldly rasp remains a symbol of individuality, there's no doubt it's undergone change since its last recorded appearance. This new, more soulful style was first noticeable during WU LYF's live shows around the back end of 2011, but here it shines more clearly than ever, to the extent that you can even make out the majority of the words he's bellowing(!). Granted, the lyrics ("to the powers of old / to the powers that be / you have fucked up this world / but you wont fuck with me") and their relatively light musical backing may not be to everyone's taste, but even so it's a return that's nothing if not intriguing, and one which leaves the door ajar for further fresh exertions.


Listen to "Kerou's Lament" here.


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