A Silver Mt. Zion / Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

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On their first offering in three years, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra up the ante in urgent, angry style. While the foundations for the music on Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything were forged on 2010's Kollaps Tradixionales, they've come into sharper, weightier focus here. Efrim Menuck's gift for intimate, sweeping melody remains, but it's usually woven underneath a rafter-rattling 21st century meld of punk, metal, folk forms, and more. Three of this set's six tracks are over ten minutes in length -- and well worth the sprawl. Opener "Fuck Off Get Free (For the Island of Montreal)" commences with a child's voice: "We live on the island called Montreal, and we make a lot of noise because we love each other." This proves to be a mission statement for the entire album. Menuck's searing guitar and atmospheric Mellotron, Thierry Amar's throbbing bassline, the strings of Jessica Morris and Sophie Trudeau, and David Payant's clattering drum kit whip things into a frenzy of rage and righteousness: "...While pennies pile, the hoarders smile and proclaim/That what we want we'll never be/In between we fuck and dream at living free again...." Throughout, Menuck's lyrics are political and polemical, but they're never cloying or obvious. "Austerity Blues" commences with a strummed acoustic guitar and several voices in loose harmony, but grows tenser with each moment until it erupts into an orgy of strings, shredding guitar, exploding tom-toms, and a spine-shaking bassline -- all inside of two minutes. "Take Away These Early Grave Blues" weaves together post-millennial hardcore, swamp blues, black metal drumming, vanguard power guitar, sonic keyboard washes, and a sawing Franco-Celtic string melody woven through a cacophonous roar; it's complete with crescendos, interludes, and a dynamic finish. "What We Loved Was Not Enough" begins almost as an ambient elegy; a two-chord Mellotron vamp is gently mirrored by strings. When Menuck begins singing, it's mournful, just drenched in loss, as if the John Lydon of early PiL were delivering a broken parlor song. Within three minutes this lonely waltz begins to unfurl with frustration and rage. Before it gets out of hand, it tamps itself down again, but cannot be contained and rips free of its bonds toward maelstrom. But the true impact of Menuck's song cannot be expressed by energy alone, so it downshifts again. This time, the rest of the group sings sweetly behind him, repeating the chorus over and over again under his world-weary voice, gradually covering it over. Only their voices and that tender melody that exists beyond all sadness remain. On Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra sound more vital and musical than ever. Only shared feelings of helplessness and powerlessness fueled by equal measures of desperation and hope could summon an anger focused enough to create art such as this. In this band's collective heart, rock & roll is still a force reckoned with personally and politically.

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