Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band – Horses in the Sky
It seems that the band once known simply as A Silver Mt. Zion has settled on a name. After changing their name with each subsequent release, A Silver Mt. Zion has now released two albums under the same monicker. It also seems that the band has settled on a sound.After the significant sonic departure of their disappointing last release This Is Our Punk Rock, SMZ has settled on a sound more akin to their earlier release Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly Upward.
I hope these name changes haven’t been a plea for attention, for SMZ has always stood in the background while some other post-rock bands were receiving at least a modicum of success in the past few years.But while many of SMZ’s contemporaries have relied on creating atmospheric noise out of highly structured, repetitive chords, SMZ has relied primarily on what sounds like spontaneous compositions.
Over the course of 11 minutes, the lead track “God Bless Our Dead Marines,” makes the transition from a distant sounding piano to middle-eastern tribal dance to chamber-pop – all the while sounding completely sporadic, and never forced.Sure, Godspeed You Black Emperor recorded with Steve Albini, but that’s about as raw as they get. With SMZ, much of this album was recorded next to a campfire, with the crackle and hiss of a fire throughout.Sure, its become clichÃ© to use ambient noise to pass for artistic lo-fi, but with SMZ somehow it seems less like an effect, and more like real character. — Zak Bronson
Recommended If You Like: Godspeed you Black Emperor!, Storm and Stress, Do Make Say Think