Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – [Album]

Friday, 26 February 2010

The gifts a band might possess can take many forms. For some, they have the impressive ability to simplify and micro-size their muse in such a way that tiny music – tiny structures, modest sentiments and small sounding instruments – can seem like the most important things in the world. When that happens, it's usually a surprise to listeners because it's just so small but seems to be key for the listener's continued existence. Other bands simply have a gift for seeing the world as it is; no bigger and no smaller, their expression of the world in music is just devoid of bullshit. That kind of clarity is refreshing but the rarest birds are the ones that can present beautiful and anthemic work that is enormous and all-encompassing in scope and performance, yet it just comes forth naturally; they catch inspiration as if it's simply being handed down from on high while others are left to watch and reach desperately for a fraction of the result.

On Kollaps Tradixionales, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra seems to effortlessly present a work of the latter group. It's the strangest thing; as “There Is A Light” eases the album open, anyone listening will be struck by the fluid grace and mercurial interplay between the four-piece horn section in the band and a classic rock-informed indie rock band as the roll out a composition of dramatic peaks and valleys. It's a remarkable experience that becomes unbelievable when one realizes it's also fifteen minutes long. Because the the form of the song presents itself in fluid, multi-layered movements, listeners don't realize that the spell the band has cast and hypnotizing listeners more by the minute. When the song finally peaks and fades, listeners find themselves surprised it went as long as it did, but are aching for more anyway.

They aren't disappointed. After the stage and parameters for play get set with “There Is A Light,” Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra begin focusing in on seven different sectors to better define the space in which they're working. On their course, they discover a series of almost tangible emotional states of loneliness (“I Fed My Metal Bird The Wings Of Other Metal Birds”) and frustration (“I Built Myself A Metal Bird”) along with heartfelt delicacy and warmth ("Kollapz Tradixional (Thee Olde Dirty Flag)") that aren't articulated by singer Efrim Menuck so much as they are through the subtle shifts in timbre and approach – in fact, sometimes those vibes are produced by the contrast between the vocals and the music (Menuck sounds positively miserable in “Kollapz Tradixional,” yet the song ends up coming off as uplifting as you listen) as the strings seem to console the singer and improve his mood. Songs like “Collapse Traditional,” “'Piphany Rambler” and “Kollapz Tradixional” all best exemplify Thee Silver Mt. Zion's emotional/musical symbiosis as the guitar textures and strings combine to convey a set of desires and hopes that aren't so pedantic as simply presenting them for audiences to take or leave, they infiltrate a listener's bodily rhythms and make them feel like they could live or die with the song.

That this music is able to ingrain itself so completely into every listener's mind and begin to affect every emotional curve and impulse they have is marvelous. The emotional open door on each song is a very provocative possibility; a listener can be scared, loved, despised, warmed, uplifted and downtrodden by Kollaps Tradixionales and that listener can project those feelings back on the music in return. If ever a record was made to inhabit, it is this one.



“I Built Myself A Metal Bird” (Live) – Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – [mp3]

“Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos)” – Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – [mp3]


Kollaps Tradixionales
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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