Thee Silver Mountain Reveries
Pretty Little Lightning Paw
Changing their name and reinventing their style has become commonplace for Mt. Zion these days. On last year’s This is Our Punk Rock…, they made a conscious step towards becoming a vocal-driven combo. This release expands and refines the changes of their previous disc.
“More Action! Less Tears!” opens the EP with a joyously shouted introduction, giving way to sinewy guitar riffs, vertigo violins and swelling drums. Though it lacks lyrics, it’s a contender for best song because of its richness in texture and fullness of sound.
The remaining three songs are vocal tracks. Singer Efrim in no way has a “strong” voice. On …Punk Rock…, his vocals were pushed to the forefront of the mix, providing a ragged counter to the album’s instrumental beauty. Here, his off-key weary warble is often drenched in reverb and delay. The effect works nicely on “Microphones in the Trees” where Efrim’s quiet, lonely howl echoes alone for a few minutes before being joined by a strong chorus. However, the attempt falls a little flat on the title track. The vocal arrangements are very intricate, rough and intimate, but the band lets the music stagnate for nearly the entire song. What could have been an enjoyable five or six-minute track becomes too repetitious at ten minutes.
“There’s a River in the Valley Made of Melting Snow” is as close to perfect as the lyric-centric Mt. Zion has come so far. Efrim’s restrained voice and instruments beat against a cloud of hissing white noise, sending out searching fingers of guitar feedback. It’s heartwarming and heartrending all at once, and it proves that Mt. Zion can move away from the storms of noise and still unleash powerful beauty through simplicity.
Constellation Records: http://www.cstrecords.com/