Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything by Silver Mt. Zion

Grade: 8.2
1. Fuck Off Get Free (For the Island of Montreal) 
2. Austerity Blues
3. Take Away These Early Grave Blues
4. Little Ones Run
5. What We Loved Was Not Enough
6. Rains Thru the Roof at the Grand Ballroom

There's something so ostentatious about mixing politics with music. Generally, the synthesis of these two realms of thought result in a product that is either too oblique or too overt to be meaningful. Artists seem to either whisper their political ideologies or scream them. Both of these methods of communication are ineffective and undermine the power of the music. However, a thin line exists between the overt and the oblique and that line has been pioneered by many great artist's who have inserted political thought into their lyrics throughout the years. Think of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Radiohead- all of these groups discussed politics in their music and still made fucking great music. I think my model holds in most cases. I think that political ideologies implemented into music must be halfway between overt and oblique to be effective, but like any model, there are anomalies.

One such anomaly is Silver Mt. Zion's Fuck Off Get Free We pour Light on Everything. The politics of this album are quite oblique. Examination of the lyrics yields little in the way of answers. There are general themes that are explored throughout the album. There is a definite anarchist trend "We've all of us carried our load, Dull and young and bright and old, But thieves and liars rule everything we know, And thieves and liars rule everything that grows" (Austerity Blues). 

Most talented musicians are liberal (likely because most smart, talented people are liberal) and it seems that Silver Mt. Zion is no exception. There really aren't many right-wing anarchists and the band's views on capitalism confirm that they aren't a part of that minority. Topics on the album include: anti-establishmentism; disparity of wealth; complacency; revolution; moral decline; racism; fascism (relatively [often unrealistically] defined); the evils of communism and modernity; etc.

When the lyrics are examined on their own, they very closely resemble the lyrics of bands like Rage Against the Machine. Themes and ideologies aside, it is fairly easy to notice the similarities between the anthemic verses of Fuck Off Get Free's title track "Fuck off, Get Free, We pour Light on Everything We see" and the ending of Rage's famous song Killing in the Name "(16x) Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!". 

However, Silver Mt. Zion's lyrics are more cryptic than the overt, anarchistic melodies of Rage Against the Machine. Furthermore, the post-rock in which they are inlaid provides more variety than the monotonous roar of Rage's guitars.

It really is great music, which is to be expected considering that most of its band members come from the infamous post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This album very much feels like the core band from which it branches off, except that there are lyrics which give more information on the politics of the band. Music nerds are well-aware that Godspeed You! Black Emperor is notoriously anti-establishment; they have refused to show up at many music awards shows and have even refused the monetary awards that they have won.

There is a great passion in these actions, and that passion bleeds from this album as guitars roar, violins weep, drums beat, cymbals crash, and Efrim Menuck wails. Post-rock is really cool. It's insane to think that a 14 minute song can hold one's attention for so long. Many post-rock groups fail at this, but Silver Mt. Zion most definitely does not, and even if their lyrics are confusingly oblique, their passion comes through making up for them.