Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band

May 5, 2008

If you’re a little burnt on the same-old same-old, consider giving this record a spin. It opens with a dozen five-second tracks of what sounds like various pitches of microphonic feedback. Then the 13th tune begins with about a minute of barely-audible percussion and a one-note plucked repeating figure. When the band finally hits after a few minutes, it sort of sounds like what might happen if Neil Young jammed with ELO with John Lydon on lead vocals—meaning it rocks, trashes, and hypnotizes all at once. The guitar tones, courtesy of Efrim Menuck and Ian Ilavsky, are lo-fi and evocatively edgy, in a Sonic Youth kind of way. The songs that last more than five seconds are over 13 minutes long and sound more like the soundtrack to a dark, existential film than anything resembling a pop or rock tune. You probably won’t find yourself humming any of these ditties, but if you want an exciting and disturbing crash course in building dissonant/beautiful/cinematic textures, you’ll get it here. Wow.
—Matt Blackett

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