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Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band: 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons

Album: 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons
Label: Constellation

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When Efrim Menuck's harpoon-like guitar ruptures the belly of space-time about four minutes into "1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound"—the first track of Silver Mt. Zion's 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons—it pretty much renders hair-splitting, critical analysis, and even rational thought irrelevant. Simply put, the song is like an enema for the universe—an angry enema. Fueled by Menuck and company's snowballing choral power and compositional fire, 13 Blues is a parsec-spanning extension of the band's 2005 stunner Horses In The Sky. From the screeching, gouging distortion of the new disc's opener to the pizzicato violin of its coda, "BlindBlindBlind," Menuck—once the stereotypically reticent singer, back when he and his group first diverged from the instrumental Godspeed You! Black Emperor—has wedded raw, symphonic swells to his palpably gripping, folk-fathered yowl. It's a voice as bleak and fervent as John Lydon's circa The Flowers Of Romance. It's also pissed as all hell, dripping with a vinegar that turns to syrup as if via alchemy. Today's politically charged songwriters can drop coy manifestos and clever metaphors all they want—Silver Mt Zion's 13 Blues actually flushes out the psychic, karmic residue of a suicidal civilization just to stomp around in all that apocalyptic plasma.