Monday, August 6, 2007

A Silver Mt. Zion - Horses In The Sky

A splinter group of popular post-rock ensemble Godspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion (or, as they are referred to here, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band) is comprised of GYBE guitarist/pianist/singer Efrim, bassist Thierry, violinist Sophie, and other guests. But whereas the band's previous albums sometimes sounded like replications of GYBE's layered, largely instrumental formula, HORSES IN THE SKY is a different kettle of fish altogether. Raw, stripped-down, and vocal-centered, Silver Mt. Zion's fourth album is hushed, mesmerizing, and deeply affecting.

The opening track, "God Bless Our Dead Marines," begins with Efrim's tortured, yelped vocals over pizzicato strings, before dropping into a shifting Balkan dance melody and a chain of surreal lyrics about politics, Nina Simone, and drug abuse. On "Mountains Made of Steam," a mournful vocal tag, that sounds like it might have come from some nightmarish version of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF gives way to a surging orchestral passage and a piercing rain of electric guitar notes, while the title track is all hushed acoustics. The combination of unique instrumentation, angular arrangements, and Efrim's elliptical lyrics and chilling singing makes HORSES IN THE SKY a distinctive and recommended listen.

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Buy it.
also available on LP

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