A Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band comes closer to their formal connection with Godspeed You! Black Emperor with their second release. The original trio that comprised the band is here joined by three others, doubling the lineup, not to mention the guests on drums, trumpet, and trombone. The songs are still mainly centered around strings, however the orchestration is now much more dense (as opposed to the stark _He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corners of Our Rooms_). Like GY!BE, they are able to build to huge, rushing crescendos and sonically I suppose they are not so different. However, the overall tone of the music makes it an ENTIRELY different experience. I must quote another reviewer who said it very well: "There is strength in Godspeed's wordless soft/loud anthems. Here there is vulnerability, fear, and faith in secret beauty and tiny resistance."
"Sisters! Brothers! Small Boats of Fire Falling from the Sky!" and "Could've Moved Mountains..." are layers and layers of crisscrossing violins and guitars and other instruments sawing at each other for a tragic melody, both glacially shifting and hypotizingly textured. "Build then Burnt (Hurrah! Hurrah!)" is a slow, sad dirge. "C'Mon Come On (Loose an Endless Longing)" is the first hint of optimism, but it is obscured by various other layers. These eventually peel away On "The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes" Efrim's vocals are unpleasant, off-key, and cracked -- but I find a strange poignancy to his radical, desperate socio-political rants using such a voice. His voice and ugly broken guitar distortion on this track are joined by florid strings and luminous guitars, a light crescendo that swells to a heavenly end. "Take These Hands and Throw Them in the River" is a pulsating atonal trance with tortured vocals wailing over it. It ends with calming nature sounds, a soothing reprieve after the clamorous first part -- however even this peace seems threatened somehow (hinted at by the dog barking and the bassy background noise). The childish voice giving a strangely poetic monologue on "This Gentle Heart's like Shot Bird's Fallen" is a weird but compelling touch.
Without a doubt this is some of the most beautiful and powerful music ever (subjectively speaking, of course). Up there with the most godly pointillist tapestry of King Crimson, the highest heavenly gateway of Tool, or Opeth's latest album. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
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