Reviews

Published on May 11th, 2016 | by joshenjammer

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TSMZMO | Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

During the first semester of my freshman year of college, I was going through a phase of internal turmoil, and had begun getting into music as a means of escape.

By chance, I stumbled upon this album and quickly got so deeply into its sound and feel that a friend and I considered spray-painting its name on the school dining-hall wall. I had found something that I had never encountered before, something that felt special to me on a deep level, the importance of which defied words.

SMZ_portrait2010

Further research into Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (TSMZMO) and sister band Godspeed You! Black Emperor revealed a band whose pure essence was that very same nameless emotion I had felt. The band’s ideology has always been one of sticking to what they love and making beautifully intense, joyful protest-noise in the face of a world that seems to scorn beauty.

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything was made after the birth of frontman Efrim Menuck and violinist Jessica Moss’s son, so Silver Mt. Zion’s usual rapturous defiance is channeled through this prism.

A masterpiece from a band that excels at creating gorgeous music that feels important and sacred.

Efrim Menuck, along with Sophie Trudeau and Thierry Amar, are members of both Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, bands that use massively cacophonous combinations of guitar noise and violins to create beautiful compositions filtered through politics and punk attitude.

Fuck Off Get Free is a much more concentrated take on this sound, with energetic and fast-paced songs driven by off-kilter drum-beats and bathed in light guitar fuzz. The songs roll through emotionally charged movements and sections, textured sound surrounding the desperately passionate vocals of Efrim and Co.

The sentiment in the title track’s mantra “Fuck off, get free, we pour light on everything we see…” is echoed in voice samples preceding some songs: Menuck and Moss’s son Ezra opens the album, saying, “We live on the island called Montreal … and we make a lot of noise … because we love each other,” which serves almost as the album’s manifesto; there’s a recording of a girl wondering at the unfairness of the world not accepting her as an artist and musician; and MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith explaining that music is not just a casual hobby, but a way of life.

All this makes for a gripping album with unique poignancy. The opening track Fuck Off Get Free (For the Island of Montreal) comes in urgently, immediately drawing in the listener with the interesting texture of its sound and the intensely emotional vocals.

This is sustained through the next two songs, the winding Austerity Blues and Take Away These Early Grave Blues. The peaceful Little Ones Run (based around vocals and piano) follows before the album reaches its emotional peak: the astounding What We Loved Was Not Enough—a devastatingly emotional song with power to move you to tears even on the 20th listen.

This track begins very softly but summits in vibrant intensity, climaxing with the anguished line, “All our children gonna die,” repeated over hopeless predictions of the future quietly sung to powerful effect.

The album closes with the much softer Rains Thru The Roof At Thee Grande Ballroom, dedicated to the politically conscious rapper Capital Steez, who committed suicide in 2012.

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything is rapturous and beautiful, a masterpiece from a band that excels at creating gorgeous music that feels important and sacred.

Available for purchase on 180-gram vinyl, CD, and digital download at CST Records.


About the Author

I am an artist, musician and writer based in Athens, GA.



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