A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra And Tra-La-La Band (with choir)- This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing

Silver Mt ZionThere are a few record labels that I will instinctively make a purchase from without needing to know too much about the band in question. Glasgow’s Chemikal Underground (Aereogramme, Sluts of Trust) are one, Sub Pop (CSS, Iron & Wine) is another. The one that I usually look for is Constellation records; mainly because all the bands on the label keep such a low profile but the other is that all the groups in the label share members in an almost incestuous way. Whilst I’m torn between bands that I love (Godspeed You, Black Emperor and A Silver Mt. Zion) and the other ones (Molasses, Fly Pan Am), but there’s always some amazing and unique music being produced by these bands.

A Silver Mt Zion is a side project that has it’s roots in Godspeed You, Black Emperor, although after 4 albums and 1 EP I think it’s fair to say they are a band in their own right. Their music has veered more to the grand orchestral facets of GYBE, but not been as dark or as doomed. Considering the first Silver Mt. Zion album was a tribute to guitarist Efrim’s dog, who was dying of cancer, it’s not exactly uplifiting stuff. The album is suffused with sadness, and thankfully not your typical emo it-so-hard-being-me sadness. It’s a weary sadness that’s got it’s roots in a folk-musc type of vibe that’s at odds with the pedigree of the band.

In all honesty, the first track eclipses the rest of the album; “Sow Some Lonesome Corner So Many Flowers Bloom” is such a powerful track that it’s one of the best thing the band have ever done. The native-American sounding choir at the start is hypnotic  before making way into a dreamy guitar and strings section. Almost at the end, drums come in for the first time in the song and the power is bumped up. It’s an awe-inspiring track and despite the fact it’s 16 minutes long, the track never flags and never rums out of momentum. For that one song alone, I’d get this album.

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