Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (Cover Artwork)

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (2014)


Since 1999 Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra has been in a constant state of change. From its minimalist inspired experiments of He Has Left Us Alone… and Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward to the more vocal based long form tracks of Horses In The Sky, fans of the band have come to expect that each new release would sound vastly different from the previous one. So as the band moved into more rock and roll territory with 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons and Kollaps Tradixionales, no one was surprised to hear the direction that the band moved deeper into rock forms with their newest release, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything.

On Fuck Off the band has abandoned the heavy use of samples and field recordings that featured prominently in their earlier records. Fuck Off is the product of a band that wanted to be a rock band all along, but needed time to figure out how to get there, having come from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. But the wait was well worth it. The minimalist droney experimentations are still present but repackaged. This is a record you can dance to. A lot of these songs really groove! The intro of “Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montréal)” features a ¾ groove in the drums with a typical Efrim Menuck delay wash over everything. The track ends with a group chorus of, “Hold me under bright water. Never let us end,” before moving on to “Austerity Blues,” arguably the grooviest song the band has released. The third track, “Take Away These Early Grave Blues” features a melody that could’ve been taken from a Bela Bartok piece. The track actually falls in line with some of the things Fucked Up have been moving towards on Glass Boys. The track features a huge drum sound with a lot of delayed guitar while the vocals essentially repeat themselves. It’s probably the most “punk” track the band has recorded.

Fans of the bands earlier quieter and prettier tracks won’t be left out. “Little Ones Run” could’ve been taken from Born Into Trouble, featuring dual female vocals, upright bass, and plucked piano. It’s a call back to the heartbreaking optimism the band is known for. The only detractor on the album is Efrim’s new singing style. On an album like Horses In The Sky he had no frills. His voice was very clear and present. It was fragile but unafraid. In the past few years as he’s learned to sing and be a little more confident with his voice he’s added some bravado to it. Now he sings from the front of his throat and the ends of syllables all sort of taper off. It’s important that he’s not relying on the successes of his past, but his new vocal presence comes off as somewhat of a misstep. This is clearest in the album’s fifth track, “What We Loved Was Not Enough.” An earlier version of the song was released in 2012 on The West Will Rise Again EP. Efrim’s vocal delivery on the 2012 version is much more emotional and full. In the 2014 version of the song, it feels like he’s trying to be part of a larger “rock and roll” paradigm.

Despite Efrim’s strange vocal choices, Fuck Off is a must-listen. It has everything you want out of this band. There are tracks that rock and there are tracks that will make you cry. There are lyrics that will inspire you and there are lyrics that will make you think and wonder. Everything is placed just right. Huge guitars give way to fragile and beautiful violins. Not to mention the breathtaking packaging the record comes in. Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything was easily one of the best releases of 2014.