Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
"We live on an island called Montreal, and we make a lot of noise, because we love each other." An so begins Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra's latest album, a quote from a young child, perfectly encapsulating the whole ethos of a band who have been creating enthralling, experimental rock since the twilight years of the 20th-century. As the album title suggests, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything finds the Orchestra in combative mood, kicking against the economic ills of the western world and delivering a terminal prognosis for global democracy as a whole. More importantly, and as dogmatic and stubborn as ever, they continue to do what they do best; enjoying making a wonderful racket.
The album provides plenty on par with what you'd expect from Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra: songs that break the ten minute barrier; pulsing swathes of guitar noise; and screeching strings delivering equal amounts of divine beauty and devilish cacophony. They have always regarded themselves more of a punk band than anything else, openly disregarding the "post-rock" tag, finding an anarchic affinity with the brutalism of their sound and their political/musical stance.
Pounding opener 'Fuck Off Get Free' raises a glass to the immaterial nature of true of human enjoyment, "And what we want will never be / In between we fuck and dream" howls Efrim with typically sardonic punkish delivery. 'Take Away These Early Grave Blues' is another ferocious assault of riotous noise-rock and abrasive vocals. The contrast between these two tracks and the tender piano motif of 'Little One's Run' is stark and pulls the existential weight of this album down from the lofty heavens of cosmic irrelevance to the fragility of individual human existence.
Despite working well within the context of the album, 'Fuck Off Get Free' and 'Take Away These Early Grave Blues' are monolithic, one-dimensional affairs, their bludgeoning intensity lacking in subtlety and manoeuvrability. 'Austerity Blues' provides the albums first masterpiece. Building towards multiple crescendos is something Godspeed You! Black Emperor have perfected with admirable aplomb, and here we find Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra borrowing a few tricks of the trade, but with the added lyrical element giving them even more scope to become politically vehement and even somewhat anthemic. The closing lyric - "Lord let my son live long enough to see that mountain torn down" - provides the track's final swirling mantra and says much about the band: idealistic, incredulous, personal and hopeful.
'What We Loved Was Not Enough' is the album's second and final masterstroke, a sloping, waltzing apocalypse which sees Efrim acting as the pontificating soothsayer, predicting the eventual rubble of humanity, laid to waste by its own careless hand. "There'll be war in our cities / There'll be riots at the mall / There'll be blood on our doorsteps / All our cities gonna burn / All our bridges gonna snap / All our children gonna die / All our children gonna die / All our children gonna die." It's like Wallace Hartley's orchestra soundtracking a world envisaged by Cormac McCarthy, playing out humanity's final stand.
Yet, despite allusions to the falling mountains of capitalism and the grander social issues leading to the ferocity of the Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything, it all really comes back to that opening line, a quote from a child which could read as a concise legacy for Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra as well as Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There may be politics behind the noise, but the noise is their own, a noise created for themselves and themselves alone. For the love of each other. For the love of life.