Punks got the loveliest dreams: A Silver Mount Zion, Scala

Well… my Post-Rock Neighbour persuaded me to accompany him and Muteboy to the Scala to see these Godspeed-affiliated Canadians, and I’m very glad he did. I went in feeling agnostic about the whole thing, waiting to be impressed… and I was. The Scala is an intimate venue and it suited this lot, arranged in a U with the open end towards us, all watching each other. In fact it all makes a lot more sense live. Last album, 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons, is tremendous, four enormous tracks that manage to be beautiful, terrifying and sad pretty much all at the same time, shifting from plaintive strings and folksy harmonies to crashing repetition, making the most of the possibilities of having a string quartet plus two guitars and a drummer. Opener ‘1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound’ won me over immediately, mainly when the double bass hit a note that had my eardrum rattling – I actually felt it moving, which is exactly the kind of thing I go see bands for. ’13 Blues’ itself reminded me of early Sabbath in a way – a skeletal blues about ‘being cold and horny with too much war on the news’, or words to that effect, with the screamed refrain ‘I just want some action!’. We had two new tracks, which suggests they’ve been busy as ‘Blues’ only came out last month, and a couple more, and then that was it. When songs are this long you don’t get many to the pound, but I was happy to have my bourgeois expectations about song-length shattered. A witty lot, too, especially the Stephen Merchant-alike on guitar. Fantastic.

‘1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound‘ – A Silver Mount Zion – 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons

This is about 20MB! It would be taking the mickey to post another but I recommend the live version of the very moving ‘BlindBlindBlind’ that can be found on this excellent fan site. And you should buy everything they’ve done from Fopp or anywhere – I’m working my way through the back catalogue right now.

JKneale

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About jkneale

BothBarsOn's London correspondent.

Posted on April 9, 2008, in Album reviews, Gig reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Looking at the fansite and in conjunction with the old CD collection I realise I’ve got more of them than I thought – well the first two albums anyway. And thanks for this is as it’s made me grab them off the shelf (with other Constellation Records stuff like Fly Pan Am and inevitably Godspeed). Wish they’d settle for one version of their name though – as you know, I do like my order…

  2. P-R N lent me ‘Born into trouble’ before the gig and I’ve since bought ’13 Blues’ and ‘This is our punk rock’. Now looking for the EP with ‘Microphones in the trees’ on it. I know you’ll like ’13 Blues’

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