Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward

[Constellation; 2001]

Styles:  post-emo-experimental-gloom-folk-rock
Others: A Silver Mt. Zion, Thee Silver Mt. Reveries, Raffi

Efrim, Sophie and Thierry said, "Let there be A Silver Mt Zion," and they saw that it was good. That was three years ago. Since then, the band, started by a trio of GYBE! alumni, has doubled to six members (now including Becky, Ian, and Jessica) and has renamed themselves The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-la-la Band. They've also released a second record, Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward, that impressively carries more guitars and strings, and bolder emphasis on vocals. To be honest, I always fell ill-equipped to review anything out of the Godspeed You, Black Emperor! camp. I always, always enjoy the music, but I never feel like I fully understand the message. All I ever seem to get is that life is terrible. This album seems to have a similar aim, even going so far as to include a long diatribe entitled "On the failure of One Small Community in Achieving its Own Ill-Defined Dreams and/or Goals..." The last Silver Mt. Zion album, He Has Left Us Alone, But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms..., was unbelievable with soft murmurs of piano and singing but it always left me feeling down. This new album still has the piano lines, sound loops and strings, but it doesn't leave me sad at all. In fact, strangely enough, it fills me with a sense of hope. Maybe it's the beautiful harmonic guitar being joined by the string ensemble on the last track "The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes" that features the lyrics "There's beauty in this land but I don't often feel it..." Maybe it's the kid in the opening of "Built Then Burnt (Hurrah! Hurrah!)" whose breathless, colorful reciting always brings a smile to my face because he's so passionate. Maybe it's the way the album begins as it slowly fades from a quiet sound in the distance into a grand, loud melody. Or, maybe it's simply the bird on the back cover carrying a sign that says "Please Believe." Highly recommended, maybe as much or even more than any other Godspeed-related album ever.

1. Sister! Brother! Small Boats Of Fire Are Falling From The Sky
2. This Gentle Heart's Like Shot Birds Fallen
3. Built Then Burnt (Hurrah! Hurrah!)
4. Take These Hands And Throw Them In The River
5. Could've Moved Mountains...
6. Tho You Are Gone I Still Walk Miles With You
7. C'mon Come On (Loose An Endless Longing)
8. The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes

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