I first listened to (breathes in) “A Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band” (breathes out) a number of years ago when someone recommended them to me, mainly because they were partially composed of members of Godspeed You Black Emperor ! Now GSYBE! were then, and are now, one of my favourite bands so I was expecting a lot.
But I found both SMZ and another offshoot band “Fly Pan Am” to be disappointingly bland, so I was quite interested to see whether things had changed. Well, they’ve dropped the “Tra La La Band” part of their name, so you can actually say it on one breath (this is a boon in commercial terms).
They also appear to have picked up the torch so tragically dropped by GSYBE! after they “went on hiatus” (pffft), at least in appearances, but epic guitar and string parts take a long time to go nowhere.
In some ways they sound like a Godspeed cover band but with the terrible flaw of having a really irritating vocalist. To be fair the songs that he doesn’t appear on are a lot more palatable, but this album is full of hot air as far as I’m concerned. Maybe if I’d never heard GSYBE! I could have a more fair and balanced view of this release but I have, so I can’t.
Silver Mount Zion on Myspace