What Am I Listening To 2014 – “What We Loved Was Not Enough” by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Album Reviews, What Am I Listening To 2014
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Thee-Silver-Mt-Zion-Fuck-Off-Get-Free-We-Pour-Light-On-Everything-608x608“We make a lot of noise because we love each other” says the child who’s brief monologue opens “Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything”. Canadian band Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra does make a lot of noise, and it can take a few listens to acquire a taste for if (if you ever do).  However, there’s no denying the high and wild energy of this album or the joy with which it sounds like it was made.

It’s an interesting album, but it’s definitely not for the musically squeamish.  It’s the kind of album that sounds loud even when you play it at low volume – at times it feels over-saturated with sound, which makes the quieter moments stand out in greater contrast than they might in other contexts. Often the vocals are slightly off-kilter, not unlike those of Robert Smith from the Cure. They’re mixed in between alternating distorted and screaming, simple, repetitive guitar riffs, poured over a simple rhythmic intensity that is relentless at times. Then there are the sweet moments with the string section and female chorus, although those moments have their own eccentricities.

It would be easy to write this stuff off as pure chaos.  But once you’re acclimated to it you can discern a musical intelligence that makes good use of dynamics and pace changes to help you connect to music you can probably feel more than hear.

“Fuck Off Get Free” isn’t going anywhere near the Billboard Hot 100 or BBC 1 playlist. On the other hand, it’s one of the best examples of the totally noncommercial side of psychedelic tinged post rock whatever genre I’ve heard so far. It’s an experience you’re not likely to get elsewhere. I find it easy to open my heart to this oddity after hearing it a few times, but I appreciate many people might not feel the same.

It’s hard to pick one track here. They all have their good points (or lack thereof depending on your point of view. I went with “What We Loved Was Not Enough” because it has a good mix of beauty and beast on the one track. It’s a bit long, but so are most of the best ones.  It’s now on the What Am I Listening To 2014 playlist


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