Fast-forwarding to a Mancunian future Wu Lyf (their name brilliantly stands for World Unite- Lucifer Youth Foundation) are a clandestine underground band furtively playing gigs in off the wall locations in the city.
Spiky youth with a frenetic energy and an air of mystery- they play tonight in Outlet in the city’s Northern Quarter which is normally a cafe but has been decked out as a temporary venue giving the whole gig a legendary underground feel. A feel that has been added to by a band that somehow maintains an intangible internet presence in this era of digital overkill- there is a difficult myspace to track, a clutch of tunes on youtube that feel they are going to get removed at any moment, some cryptic sloganeering on a facebook fan page all adding to a thrilling air of mystery.
The band itself plays self-styled ‘heavy pop’- a term which sounds great but gives little clue to just how diverse, intense and powerfully clever they are.
They obviously are very smart and very hip, the little clues lying around the internet hint at clever revolutionary minds working in hyperdrive- like someone like Ian Svenonious when he presented his Nation Of Ulysses to the world 15 years ago there is a new vocabulary and a revolutionary fervour to their music and their secretive self mythologising.
There is something very special going on in Manchester.
Infact there is lots of very special things going on in Manchester. Wu Lyf are just part of the disparate unrelated activity as the city fast-forwards to another future.
Whilst crumbling curmudgeons moan about the city trading on its past picking on the new Factory club whilst missing the point that its yet another space for musical adventures- another fine addition to a city with the most musical venues in the UK. What the anonymous gripers don’t ever seem to notice or flag up is all the new action going on in the city or ever even mention it even though its there right in front of them.
Whilst I’ve already documented the endless songwriting brilliance of Dirty North, the twisted genius of Fraser King and the clattering pop brilliance of Janice Graham, I’m also involved in a new label called Modern English that is busily releasing the great dark melancholic rushes of 1913, the dubstep stylings of Thallie and is about to sign a top young Manc band that was chewed up and spat out by a clumsy major label and I’m thrilled by every new twist and turn in the current musical plot.
Wu Lyf are very young and very hip skinny youth who play with an intensity and passion that cuts through the hipster gathering tonight. The covert gig feels like watching the Velvet Underground in NYC in the late sixties or a mid eighties Roses warehouse party- an in the know gathering.
The band have managed to arrive here with their own unique sound that hints at the quirky bohemian angular stylings of early Factory bands with a dollop of Sky Saxon’s wonderful Seeds and a whole host of modern bands, of course they also don’t sound like any of these bands because the wonderful thing about them is that they have their own agenda and these references are mere signposts for the reader to try and get a grip of their sound. I’m a mere journalist and I’m trying to describe sound and give you signposts and I know that I’m wrong before I’ve started!
There is a chiming guitar that plays angular arpeggios in a stunningly original manner, a bass that’s obviously doing something very smart but is lost in the vocal PA, a brilliant drummer whose inventiveness creates a shape shifting bedrock and a singer who sits at a keyboard playing those bedding notes that give the songs the melting psychedelic of the Seeds genius garage rock, he also comes armed with this fucking amazing voice- pure soul power- the intensity and passion pours from the larynx and its making the band very, very special.
They twitch about on stage, thrilled at their own genius, impatient for the future, reinventing the wheel yet again.
Wu Lyf are fucking brilliant, yet another new version, yet another way to make music, yet another gang of teenagers with a shiny new attitude and a brand new beat.