The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band
Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward
The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra is back with yet another erratic exercise in found sounds, controlled noise, and intricate composition, following their previous, equally beautifully titled debut, He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Lights Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms. This time around there are a full six persons hiding behind the complex moniker, but the core still consists of members from art-rockers Godspeed You Black Emperor! and the sound is still one of meditative dwelling and dramatic probing into some twisted, surreal world.
It all starts off quite tenderly with the panoramic, sweeping “Sisters! Brothers! Small Boats of Fire are Falling From the Sky!” (how can anyone not love these titles!), but by the end of the album you’ve been dragged through hell and halfway back. An album-act if there ever was one, SMZMO sets out to speak at length, slowly unfurling or discovering inspirational sadness or, even, the glory of final destruction, through a series of songs each adding another crazed brick to the puzzle. Pretentious? Bah! Wait ’till you’ve read the liner notes.
Anyway, not one for the warm summer nights or for doing the dishes to, this is a glorious constructed work that may not sit too comfortably on the first listen, but that could affect you so much more when it finally does pull you in.