Release Date: Feb 16, 2010
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental
After 11 years of existence and six full-length studio albums, the Silver Mt. Zion collective from Montreal has now officially outlasted and outrecorded Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the group they were once presented as an “offshoot” of. With GY!BE still on indefinite hiatus while its members pursue multiple parallel projects, it would seem that Silver Mt.
The sixth album from the many-monikered incarnations of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (with another slight name change) offers a renewed sense of purpose in the studio after personnel changes pared the group down to a quintet. Along with founding members guitarist/lead vocalist Efrim Menuck, violinist Sophie Trudeau, and contrabassist Thierry Amar, are Dave Payant on drums, organ, and piano, and violinist Jessica Moss.
Ten years ago, Thee Silver Mt. Zion appeared as one of many satellite projects orbiting around the Godspeed You! Black Emperor mothership, alongside fellow offshoot acts like Fly Pan Am and 1-Speed Bike. Today, it has supplanted the long-dormant godspeed as Constellation Records' flagship act-- not just in terms of popularity or acclaim, but as outspoken exemplars of the label's uncompromised business ethics.
Tax avoidance? Enraging fastidious album alphabetizers? Perhaps the members in question truly believe that this incremental shift in direction is worthy of a name change. Whatever the reasons for Efrim Menuck’s most enduring band being called Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra for this, their sixth album, you can probably get away in most polite company with just calling them A Silver Mt Zion. Debuting in 2000, they have existed on a plateau of popularity for the best part of the last decade: moves that might have blown a few young minds when carried out by Efrim’s first, best-known band Godspeed You Black Emperor! are probably not causing many people to reenact that scene from Scanners these days.
When it comes to who’s in this or that band this week, I confess to being totally clueless. I’ll listen to a finished product, but unless something really startles me out of my shoes, I don’t really care about the machinations and specific personnel that created it. So a small portion of my brain has been dutifully waiting several years for the next Godspeed You Black Emperor Album to appear, whereas it now appears that the ‘Silver Mt.
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra has got it rough. The Canadian outfit is best known as a splinter group from Constellation Records' presumed defunct post-rock flagship, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Godspeed's venerable legacy is both a blessing and a curse for Silver Mt. Zion. If it weren't for ….
The sixth album from Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra brings another slight band-name and lineup change, but it doesn't find frontman Efrim Menuck reaching his potential. The co-founder of Godspeed You! Black Emperor still makes stumbling experimental rock but fails to improve on his previous work. [rssbreak] Hindering the album's success is the uninspired 15-minute opening track, There Is A Light, which has terribly grating vocals.
This sixth album effectively runs the SMZ gamut to date. Alex Deller 2010 Stumbling woozily into the sunlight come Montreal’s Thee Silver Mt. Zion (Memorial Orchestra, for this outing), clutching a battered shoebox to their collective chest, the contents of which – yellowing papers, faded photographs, odd buttons and brightly-coloured bottlecaps – make up this, their sixth full-length in some ten years.