Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Total Life | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Total Life 

When: Thu., May 8, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
Righteous indignation blazes from Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything (Constellation), the beautifully hard-hitting 2014 album from Montreal experimental-rock band Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. Singer and guitarist Efrim Manuel Menuck paints with broad strokes in his lyrics, excoriating authority and embracing the working masses: he opens “Austerity Blues” by chanting, “We’ve all of us carried our load / Dull and young and bright and old / But thieves and liars rule everything we know.” In a society as complacent as ours, good old-fashioned fuck-the-man fury can carry as much power as laser-focused criticism of a particular corrupt senator or rapacious investment bank. The band’s message rides an urgent white-water tumble of slashing electric guitars and sawing strings (the latter from violinist Jessica Moss and violist Sophie Trudeau), a rushing flood of relentless interwoven rhythms a la the Ex that sweeps up listeners in its wake. The music sometimes sounds uncharacteristically tender, but even then it doesn’t say gentle things. The bleak lullaby “Little Ones Run” isn’t about soothing a child to sleep but rather rousing one awake to run like hell: “Wake up darling the moon is gone / The sky’s a mess and falling down.” Menuck and Moss have had a child since making the band’s previous record, and the protectiveness and sense of responsibility that come with parenthood have surely fueled their sense of alarm—whatever the reason, it’s nice that they’re trying to shake us out of our trance. —Peter Margasak


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