also by A Silver Mt. Zion:
see also... Godspeed You Black Emperor!
After three albums of ever-expanding, apocalyptic beauty and misery, this EP must have been a well-deserved diversion for the name-shifting Silver Mt. Zion collective. It sounds like an outlet for some organised chaos, which largely works. The format is two extended experimental workouts bookended by shorter, relatively accessible pieces. "More Action, Less Tears!" seems deliberately titled to follow the despondent ending of their previous album "This is Our Punk Rock...". It's a pretty upbeat instrumental rocker too, a shoegazy tangle of guitars, drums and cascading strings. "Microphones in the Trees" is the more successful of the extended pieces. Over a lilting guitar-piano bassline, Efrim Menuck lists surveillance devices in a voice soaked in strange reverb and echo. A rousing full-band vocal chorus eventually joins in, and it's rounded off nicely with some warm noise. The title track is perhaps the most peculiar piece they've ever done, with deliberately out-of-time bells, out-of-tune refrain and a spiky drumbeat, layered haphazardly with other vocal parts to build a jarring tension. Thankfully for our gentle sensibilities, the closing bookend "There's a River in the Valleys" does best at mixing striking sounds with warm music. Its effect-hazed vocal line proclaims confident defiance over a lovely bell-like phrase.
July 22, 2008