REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra continue their ascent into the ether

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Fourteen years as the somewhat lesser appreciated Godspeed You! Black Emperor side project are laid to rest in staggering style as Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra find their voice


Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything We See

  In some ways it's a shame that
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (to be readily confused with its earlier incarnations as
A Silver Mt. Zion,
The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band or indeed,
Thee Silver Mountain Reveries) have already released an album called
“This Is Our Punk-Rock” for if ever there was one in their body of seven albums deserving of such title it's this one. Like 2013's '
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!' from their other day job
Godspeed You! Black Emperor,
‘Fuck Off Get Free…’ bristles with apocalyptic rage, defiance and many moments of unutterable beauty. Take the propulsive drums, stabbing guitars and squalling violin assault of
‘Take Away These Early Graves’ or the aggressive call to arms of
‘Austerity Blues’ (
"all we want is what we're owed... Let my son live long enough to see that mountain torn down"). Suffice to say they won’t be going gently into any good night. Opening track
'Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montreal') seethes and simmers, pummeling white noise and vocal spit for seven odd minutes before an impossibly deep distorted guitar kicks in and heralds a closing four minute ascent and sing-song that's as life affirming as it gets. It’s pretty much the sound of
Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing
Arcade Fire – its stirring post-rock fury tempered by the sweet vocal melodies of violinists Sophie Trudeau and Jessica Moss before almost-frontman Efrim Menuck throws himself into the affray for the song's collapse. And whilst Efrim's vocals have never been the easiest of aural bedfellows - the steady transition from the band's first largely instrumental release
'He Has Left Us Alone..' which played like a more subdued, piano fronted
Godspeed.. to the increased prominence of
'the choir' that followed, was pretty jarring –
‘Fuck Off Get Free…’ , for this writer at least, is the moment of epiphany and perhaps the band's most successful statement to date. Now at last, the voice and music is in perfect (dis)harmony. The soul stirs all the more when it hears Efrim and band start to sing; added heart-punch to every instrumental bite. In no place is this more apparent than in the staggering, emotional colossus that is
'What We Loved Was Not Enough’. It's as powerful a reminder of the sheer visceral thrill of the song as I’ve ever heard - every note seemingly hard wired to electrify the synapses. From doom
("and the days come when we no longer feel...") to hope (
"the West will rise again") in eleven minutes and twenty three seconds of sense-numbing beauty it’s hands down the finest thing I’ve heard in yonks and I’ll happily wager that it won’t be topped this year. Elsewhere the album also contains two uncharacteristically short and sweet songs – the
Low-like lullaby of the Moss and Trudeau fronted
‘Little Ones Run’ and the wonky synths and underwater drums of
‘Rains Thru The Roof’ which rounds things off at an almost succinct 50 minutes, all in all making it a lucky number seven for
Thee Silver Mt. Zion... and 2014's first essential release.   9/10