Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra
Title: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
Record Label: Constellation Records
One doesn’t need to be a master of Sherlock’s science of observation and deduction to figure out what this album is all about. It’s all in the title, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, the kind of disjointed stream of elemental protest poetry with which one should expect the Godspeed You! Black Emperor related project to produce. The blurry, monochromatic cover art is a big hint too, considering the cover of the similarly epic 2012 album, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, which won Godspeed the Polaris Music Prize.
Through drastic line-up changes over the course of their seven odd albums, all released since the year 2000, the overall Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra aesthetic has become more precisely pointed in the direction of politically charged post-rock, despite their expressed distaste for genre categorization. The aural palette, from the Montreal-centric samples to the droning strings layered on guitar feedback propelled by thundering drums, remains consistent with the evolution of the Silver Mt. Zion project from its sparser, more classically experimental beginning as the trio of guitarist Efrim Menuck, bassist Thierry Amar, and violinist Sophie Trudeau to the heavy post-rock quintet it is today, bolstered by drummer David Payant and second violinist Jessica Moss.
Honest to a fault, frontman Efrim Menuck is acutely aware of the context and role of his band within a greater society, as his interviews and lyrics attest. While the abrasive quality of his voice is obvious, hitting the aural mark somewhere between a wail and a whine, its tortured nature is a silver lining when used to deliver lyrics that cast a gloomy shadow over the socio-economic hole that western humanity dug for itself. No other warble would work as well in the context of “What We Loved Was Not Enough”, where Menuck’s voice framed by a glorious feminine chorus that pines, “The day has come when we no longer feel.” His broken voice lilts in such a way to reflect the fragile bonds that tie countries together.
Ultimately, there are few real surprises on Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, especially if you’ve seen the band perform live in recent years. The album is as much a snapshot of the massive, raw energy of their current touring line-up as it is a pure work of art in its own right. However, newness for the sake of newness is a dangerous spiritual pursuit, a quick fix to alleviate the symptom of boredom that has roots in deeper cosmic dissatisfaction. As it has been since the project began, our world remains a deeply messed up place to exist, and the more artists we have delivering their unfiltered opinions about the state of things, the more healthy our culture will be. That a band like Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra not only exists, but succeeds so thoroughly in their art is a blessing, proof that we can still make a difference in any personal pursuit, which may have wide-reaching effects on the people around us.
by Alan Ranta