If, by now, you’ve not heard the latest effort from Manchester’s amazing WU LYF, then you’re missing out. Apparently called ‘SPITTING IT CONCRETE LIKE THE GOLDEN SUN GOD’ (yet another allusion to the ‘concrete gold’ they are constantly referencing), it’s another modern classic in the waiting, showing the band at their very best. In actual fact, it even tops the heights that Heavy Pop scaled, capturing the band in full flight, all yelps and brooding atmosphere. You can listen to it over on their website at http://wulyf.org/.
It’s been months since they burst onto the scene, and have garnered plaudits from around the globe, yet they’re still keeping up this air of mystery, maintaining a purposeful distance from their fans whilst keeping any information about the band to an absolute minimum. Still, there’s always been something slicker than usual about the outfit, the feeling that there’s a little bit too much sheen and measurement from an act that are pretty much unheard of. The videos are the most startling thing – montages cut up with an excellent precision, miles away from their contemporaries efforts in unveiling new songs, which is usually done through uploading a track or two to myspace.
They’ve managed to produce this feeling that everything they make is an event, every slight change or drop of information is news – as blogs such as this one happily enforce. Even their former schoolmates Egyptian Hip Hop, with the mountains of press and hype they’ve had mounting behind them, haven’t achieved the same amount of control the flow of information about them. Every action is measured, thought out and precise, which is exactly why they’ve been such a phenomenon on the internet – who else would’ve dared to sell demo tapes for £50 each (reportedly) or charge £15 for ‘membership’ (including a 12″ vinyl of their work), whilst ignoring the advances of small indies and majors from around the country? In this digital age, where the idea of privacy is one that is rapidly dying, they’ve thrived on people’s desperation for information. Which makes a slip as obvious as the one they’ve committed even more bewildered.
It starts with a simple whois look up, which tells you basic information about the person who registered a website – incredibly standard stuff, something that is available to do legally and for free on any number of websites. Checking up on their worldunite.org site is the predictable dead end you’d expect – an loop of references to ‘brunettemail.com”, which leads to a relatively sparse domain, as well as suggesting the site is based in New York. It’s when you look up their more traditional wulyf.org site that things become a little bit more interesting. The Whois query reveals that the domain was registered by a company at 77 Dale Street, Manchester, but, crucially, it was done not by a band member, but by a company. The email address supplied is done via the domain four23.net.
When visited, the website reveals about as much information as the band themselves, suggesting that four23 is a ‘creative studio’ that ‘create visual identity, short films… motion graphics and art installations’. It also lists a wide variety of commercial clients, including the likes of Adidas, Reebok, Samsung and Samsung, and it is suggested four23 were consulting in regards to marketing. Of course, world renowned brands are huge leap away from a band that are still only known to a select few thousand, but the delivery and execution of content surrounding the WU LYF project has been done with the same kind of finish that you’d expect from the huge corporations.
There is another link, too – An Outlet. The recently opened Manchester Café where WU LYF have played the majority of their live shows always felt a bizarre choice for one of the country’s most exciting new bands, but it seems there is reason enough behind it. Indeed, four23 are the owners of the café, though this has never been a secret – An Outlet’s website has a link in the bottom corner of it’s ‘information’ page that links back to four23.net/. With so many great places in Manchester to put on a show, there’s still room for shows at small boutique cafés, but WU LYF rarely played anywhere else, having a monthly residency up until recently.
What does it all mean? Well, it still means very little. The obvious assertion is that WU LYF, as well as making some of the best music around at the moment, are having their moves plotted by a marketing company that has been hired by international superbrands for it’s campaigns. That explanation would make a lot of sense, all things considered – there are few PR companies in the world that could pull of this exquisite game of cat and mouse as well as WU LYF supposedly have, especially when the high quality of the videos is factored in as well. However, amongst the conspiracies, there’s a simple possibility – that An Outlet, being one of the few places that band seem to trust, helped them out in registering a wulyf.org so as to stop the hassle of people like myself desperately whois-ing their website. That wouldn’t answer why worldunite.org’s origins when queried using the same methods is so heavily encoded, but it still makes a lot of sense, especially considering the website was only made on ‘15-Feb-2010′.
This link between four23 and WU LYF, it turns out, has been evident for quite some time – as a comment below mentions, Warren Bramley, the founder of four23, is manager of the band. Bramley has a history in the music business as well, having worked for Factory and for In The City: http://iomusic.net/Music-News/2010/04/wu-lyf/ is a more concise analysis of the situation than has ever appeared on this website.
Either way, it seems as if World Unite; Lucifer Youth Foundation are on very good terms with an extremely competent marketing company and are still making some of the best sounds this region has ever given birth to.
World Unite; Lucifer Youth Foundation – Heavy Pop