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The mysterious Manchester, England group WU LYF (pronounced “woo life,” short for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation) shrouded itself with secrecy. The members went by aliases such as Lung and Elle Jaie, and the band’s Wikipedia page was deleted several times. However, WU LYF's music was unmistakable, an impassioned yet eerie style they dubbed “heavy pop” that recalled Modest Mouse's jittery rhythms and the Arcade Fire's anthemic soar. The band was the brainchild of vocalist/keyboardist Elle Jaie (Ellery Roberts) and bassist Lung (Tom McClung), childhood friends who reunited in 2006 and began making music together. With the addition of guitarist Evanse (Evans Kati) and drummer Jeau (Joe Manning), the group became WU LYF over the course of 2007 and 2008, forging a mix of rattling rock and religious and political iconography. The band posted their early recordings on their website, drawing interest from the U.K. music industry that they largely rebuffed. Early in 2010, WU LYF played a monthly residency at the An Outlet coffeehouse. The venue was owned by advertising agency four23, which was founded by Warren Bramley, who became the band’s manager; previously, Bramley worked with Tony Wilson at Factory Records, and at Factory Too in the ‘90s. In July 2010, the band formed the Lucifer Youth Foundation and gave bandit masks and the debut single Concrete Gold/Heavy Pop to its members. That November, WU LYF took to a deserted church to record their debut album Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, which they self-released in June 2011. ~ Heather Phares


2008 in Manchester, England

Years Active:

'00s, '10s