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A Silver Mt. Zion - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything CD (album) cover

FUCK OFF GET FREE WE POUR LIGHT ON EVERYTHING

A Silver Mt. Zion

 

Post Rock/Math rock

4.01 | 34 ratings

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Walkscore
4 stars Real, Heartfelt Music.

The most recent full album (2014) from A Silver Mt. Zion is excellent through-and-through. I love this band (and their cousins/alter-ego but larger Godspeed You Black Emperor-GYBE) for the integrity they bring to the act of making music. They make music they want to play, and say what they want to say, for its own sake damn the consequences. They also write out of passion and gut feeling, rather than (say) logic or aspiration, so the music is full of raw emotion and is personal. As a result, their music comes across as heartfelt, feeling, and authentic. When I listen to this, I am always reminded of a Roger Waters quip (from the Pompeii video) where he says that the only thing that matters in music (or any art) is whether it moves you. SMZ is moving and thought-provoking. While a number of commentators don't like Efrim's singing, I think it fits perfectly, and just adds to authenticity of their statement. The singing would in fact be considered poor judged against the criteria set out by vocal coaches and music schools - it is frequently out of tune, he can't reach some of the high notes he is trying to reach, his voice often cracks, etc - but to me this is beside the point. The point of this band is to be real, warts and all, and thus implicitly to challenge paradigms and stereotypes of what the experts might say music should be. But even disregarding this, I actually think the singing is very musical. Few would ever say Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix are good singers, but their vocals are perfect for the songs they sing, with a lot of unique character and instant recognizability, and they add to the music they accompany rather than take away from it. The same applies to Efrim's vocals, which add a personal element to the music that raises it even higher and makes me want to listen to it.

This album continues in the same mode as their previous album (Kollaps Tradixionales), in mixing a harder rockingier approach with progressive acoustic and ethereal soundscapes, generally in the service of longer but well-structured vocal-based tunes. The album begins with a hard-guitar driving punky piece that shifts part-way through into a longer statement which sets the musical and political tone for the album. There is a great shorter tune ("Take Away These Early Grave Blues") as well as two innovative and evocative short pieces ("Little Ones Run" and and "Rains Thru the Rooft"). However, the real gems here are the two longest pieces. The 14-minute "Austerity Blues" is a fantastic piece that begins on acoustic with Efrim's unique voice up high, then morphs into a truly original and musical political statement about the idea of (government, economic) austerity. It's counterpart is "What We Loved Was Not Enough", a beautiful dirty lament from the heart. Both of these are among SMZ's best compositions, and are the primary reason I keep wanting to put on this album. They have entered my list of essential music. But in fact the entire set flows very well and there is not a bad tune on the album. Silver Mt Zion is making exciting and original music that deserves to be listened to. They are my favourite still-touring Canadian band. On balance, I give this album 8.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is at the high end of 4 PA stars.

Walkscore | 4/5 |

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