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A review of...
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
"We live on the island called Montreal and we make a lot of noise because we love each other"
Anyone hearing this introduction for the first time might be worried that they've picked up and put on the latest from that blandest and most prosaic of collectives, Montreal's Arcade Fire – thankfully they haven’t. What they’ll find they have instead is the outrageously, monstrously, astonishingly brilliant product of a bunch of musicians who actually seem to really give a shit about the music they make. Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra is the off-shoot of God Speed, You Black Emperor, the off-shoot that after-a-fashion, bridges the gap between God Speed and the ground. After-a-fashion indeed, because there’s certainly nothing ordinary about the sounds they make, it’s more that due to the impact of a healthy dose of proto-punk and hardcore influences, and through dealing with today’s many issues lyrically, that the music made as Silver Mount Zion seems perhaps more concerned with the everyday shityness of the world we all inhabit. It’s a difficult one to call mind – GSYBE make music that comes from outer space, otherworldly in essence and scope, and to say that Silver Mount Zion don’t would be to commit a serious disservice to those involved. This is music which not only blows away the cobwebs, the flabby, the indulgent and the unnecessary, it fully blasts you into another stratosphere – the difference being that it doesn’t float up there, it’s anchored to earth by the weight of concerns, by everyday consciousness, and the awareness of darkness and immorality that plagues us locally and globally. As is often the case with work led by Efrim Menuck, there’s an East-meets-West globalism to the music-mantric choruses and occasional klezmerish strains strive for space or takes turns in the foreground against and alongside sounds and tonality more associated with the western tradition and equally with those modern influences of post-rock, hardcore, metal and space-rock - it all helps add to the feel that this is a call to everyone. The overriding sense of all this is that not only is this a band with an extraordinary amount of ideas, they also have the incredible capacity to bring them altogether into a work of such mesmeric wonder and such breathtaking accomplishment. If we could all make music this good, it would render such a work ordinary, and that would be quite the shame.