PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

While not an especially accessible musical odyssey, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra's newest release will handsomely reward those who wait.


Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

Label: Constellation
US Release Date: 2014-01-20
UK Release Date: 2014-01-20
Amazon
iTunes

There’s a common question that comes up in the music reviewing world. How many times should you listen to an album before you review it? Some think that the initial feelings that an album imparts should the basis for a review. Others think that albums need much more time to mature and grow. I’m of the latter group, in part, thanks to albums like Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra’s newest epic, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything. The first few listens through Fuck Off gave the impression of an intriguing yet frustrating album that I was ready to put aside. Now, I find it a pummeling and fulfilling album that is still revealing its many hidden treasures. This isn’t an easily accessed album and it has its fair share of flaws, but Fuck Off will reward those who wait.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion’s merry band of rabble rousers are part of Constellation Records, a label famous for releasing some of the most experimental and fascinating music of the 21st century. Albums by avant-garde saxophonists Colin Stetson and Mantana Roberts have been released by Constellation, as well as all the Godspeed You! Black Emperor LPs. Thee Silver Mt. Zion has a connection to Godspeed deeper than just being labelmates. Three out of the five players on Fuck Off -- bassist Thierry Amar, violinist Sophie Trudeau, and guitarist Efrim Menuck -- are core members of Godspeed and it shows. Three songs here go over the ten-minute mark and the lyrical themes are aggressive and political. There’s a ferocity here that teeters on the edge of instability, particularly on the more mammoth tracks. Fuck Off’s closest kin in terms of sound is the ramshackle glory of Titus AndronicusThe Monitor. Both albums played with epic themes through the filter of messy and distorted rock that leaned towards insanity and balanced shorter tracks with goliath pieces.

The more succinct songs here only make up a scant part of the album, but they are absolutely necessary, often combining beautiful restraint with a mournful atmosphere that puts the more thrashing pieces in perspective. These tracks further emphasize Mt. Zion’s passionate song writing and lyrical content. The shimmering outro track is dedicated to deceased PRO ERA member Capital Steez and rolls along with a pained and passionate cry of “hold on!” The shortest track here “Little Ones Run” is also one of the album’s best songs. It’s a curious piece, based around sleepy piano and enchanting vocals that seem to spiral around in odd ways. Even with the melancholy that cloaks the song stunning beauty shines through.

The album’s longest track “Austerity Blues” clocks in at over 14 minutes and, surprisingly, keeps an excellent pace throughout. The shuddering beginning slowly grows with guitar tremors expanding in the background until the song falls into an understated groove. Mt. Zion let the guitars hover above the beat before the song explodes into a more jammy section, only to be followed by an extremely dark and slashing segment. Miraculously another great piece overtakes the song, a swelling anthem that rolls along at an energizing pace. “What We Loved Was Not Enough” serves as excellently somber waltz that ends with a gospel inspired outro that’s as powerful as it is beautiful. The opening track does, unfortunately, need a bit of editing. It begins with a surprisingly catchy and hardy intro and closes with a gritty and dark outro that serves as one of the album’s most thrilling moments, but sandwiched between those two great sections is a meandering few minutes that seem lost. The previously mentioned “Austerity Blues” also has an awkward section as the ending few minutes seem pointless and add nothing to the song, though it’s not enough to truly bring down the rest of the piece.

There is a middle ground that is reached on Fuck Off. “Take Away These Early Grave Blues” has Mt. Zion staring down the apocalypse with an energizing punk attitude. The drums are booming (drummer David Payant is an absolute beast throughout the album) and the strings match Menuck’s howling voice. The avalanching drum patterns combine with furious violins as the entire band cries “Take away these! Take away these!” Despite the need for a few edits, there’s an earnestness permeating Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything that becomes infectious. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra know that the world is ending and they want, no need you to help them save it.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.