Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (SMZ) returns with its sixth full-length recording and first since the band’s line-up change of summer 2008. Having shed three members and recruited one (drummer David Payant) the group officially dropped the "Tra-La-La Band’ from its name, played a debut performance as a newly minted quintet at All Tomorrow’s Parties in upstate NY, and embarked on an extensive European tour through the fall of 2008. As Kollaps Tradixionales ably demonstrates, the band has lost none of its raw and frazzled anthemic power and continues to forge bold new ground in its search for a unique hybrid of punk, blues, psych, folk and modern orchestral idioms.
Anchored by the fried electric guitar and plangent voice of band leader Efrim Menuck (who previously co-founded Godspeed You! Black Emperor ) SMZ continues to slide comfortably and unforcedly towards an expansive, loose and blues-inflected balladry – not so much the inexorably riffing blues shuffle of the title track from its previous effort, 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons, but a more languid waltz-time marking an almost smouldering dynamic arc, as heard on the new album’s opening track “There Is A Light” and gorgeous closer “’Piphany Rambler”.
Needless to say, the slow burn with SMZ, whatever the blues influence these days, bears little reference to typical notions of musical seduction, relaxation, or hip-swinging satisfaction. What smoulders here is much more precarious and anxious, driven by some of this decade’s more devastating lyrical conjurings – of the universal outsider and the thematics of 21st century western psychic oppression. As the lyrics to “There Is A Light” attest, these are no simple paens to the human spirit, but songs of complex, desperate and thorny hope. The words to this song (and so many others too often poorly understood in the SMZ cannon) should at least give the....... więcej