For those with all three full albums from the Quebecois post-rock collective, this EP is an essential addition to that canon, with two halves the equal of anything from their debut "F# A# ∞". "Moya" is a perfect example of Godspeed's classic post-apocalyptic instrumental style, a romanticised vision of a stark, destroyed landscape. From a mass of keening violins and sustained solo guitar wailing, with faces contorted in pain, a geological mass of sound gradually emerges. The pace is kicked up as the drummer adds backbone and self-assurance. It waltzes away towards its inevitable sound-soaked climax, buried under a mountain of drums. Even then, they remember the trick of pushing it that little bit further in dynamics and pace. Compact (by their standards!) with not a second wasted.
One of Godspeed's favourite themes is the defiance of the individual in the face of societal disintegration. One of their favourite takes on this theme is is to include soundbites of American everymen. And one of the most vocal of these everymen is "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III", whose soap-box rants about not taking no shit from the authorities form the basis of the second piece. Godspeed's music forms a cinematic accompaniment to Mr. Finnegan's diatribe, following the speaker's own dynamics with perfectly-timed ebbs and flows. Even when Finnegan shuts up, the band takes over with its own expressionist outbursts. The music itself is less important here, with less raw power than on "Moya", but it's a typical creeping plainchant-paced tune. When the speaker returns, with throbbing engines, he's accompanied by spacious piano chimes. Eventually they bring everything together, cramming in as much sound as is reasonable, swathes of guitar noise, violin and cello, and walls of bass and drums. It comes full circle, ending with the wailing strings from the start of "Moya" heard from the other side of a very large room.
I can't say they are "inimitable", as plenty of other bands have had a go at imitating them, but Godspeed's stuff (Yanqui U.X.O. excepted) stands alone as a monument of cinematic rock music.
June 24, 2006