Thee Silver Mountain Reveries – Pretty Little Lightning Paw EP

Thee Silver Mountain Reveries
Pretty Little Lightning Paw EP

The latest recording effort by the Silver Mt. Zion folks – with a new name for this release – starts with a clarion call to arms, shouting out “Hello? Hello? There will be a meeting of the action committee in five minutes. The name of this song is More Action! The name of this song is Less Tears!” And then that song takes off, crashing drums mixing with high-energy guitars and bass, violin screeching around the periphery, blasting the track into an otherworldly cacophony of instrumental bliss.

Those Montreal madmen who combine on a host of Constellation releases – from Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Frankie Sparo and others – seem to always have some new and wonderful instrumentation tricks up their sleeves. I never get bored of the flowing style of music, the layers of strings, the way rock and orchestration merge seamlessly.

I’ve always found Silver Mt. Zion’s works to be more accessible than Godspeed, perhaps because it’s a bit more intense and vivid. On this EP, Godspeed’s Efrim crafted three songs on guitar in sporadic late-night drunken sessions, and the musicians put them down with a startlingly spontaneous delivery. Other than the aforementioned opening track, which was recorded during Silver Mt. Zion’s This is Our Punk Rock… sessions, these songs are new and spontaneous yet impeccably flowing and startlingly clear.

“Microphones in the Trees” is eerie, Efrim’s singing otherworldy, the light chimes of piano and the four-voice choir sparkling. The title track is even more eerie, riding some odd beats and esoteric vocals for 10 minutes, mixing in strings and gorgeous bass. This one is my favorite track here, the most cohesive yet moody track I’ve heard from this project. “There’s a River in the Valley Made of Melting Snow” closes the EP, and this one is all Efrim, singing starkly over acoustic guitar and a host of unique sounds credited to his “toybox.” It’s a bit dark but definitely fitting the mood of the EP as a whole.

Essentially an ever-changing cast of members, Silver Mt. Zion’s incarnation for this release, under the moniker Thee Silver Mountain Reveries, is just as talented and inspired. This EP feels more creative, less planned than other releases by the collective, and with artists this talented, that approach works amazingly well. I’m always surprised and always delighted by what these folks have to offer.