Wu Lyf: Playing on Prefix

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Playing on Prefix is a feature on KCRW’s Music Blog in which writers from the eclectic music site Prefix hip you to what’s coming out of their computer speakers each week

The members of the U.K.’s Wu Lyf leave themselves wide open to the Lady Gaga Criticism: that their music — though great — is nowhere near as radical as the image they’ve constructed around themselves.

Take their website, which before it became a teaser for their upcoming album (coming out June 13 via their own Lyf Recordings) was a fever-dream collage of poetry and cryptic calls for revolution. Or take their few available press photos, which feature the band clad in white handkerchiefs, looking like they’d rather rob your bourgeois-ass than play you some anthemic indie-pop. Or take their very name, which stands for World Unite/Lucifer Youth Foundation.

Their music, though, brings to mind the “me and 15 of my best, most intense and musically accomplished friends jamming out in an abandoned church” vibe that ran through popular ’00s indie. (Think Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade.) On a song like “Spitting It Concrete Like the Golden Sun God,” they combine that communal urgency with everybody’s favorite guitar tone — you know, the one Beach Fossils/The Drums/Real Estate/etc. use to conjure up images of hazy summers and suburban swimming pools. Except on this track it’s more likely to make you think of starting a minor revolution, or at least trying to find out as much as possible about Wu Lyf.

Which might prove difficult. Right now, Wu Lyf’s biggest selling point is the ability to maintain mystique at a time when everything is out in the open. They played their first U.S. show in early April but don’t have any other dates stateside on the books at the moment.

By Daniel Kolitz