Wednesday, 24 March 2010

thee silver mt zion memorial orchestra @ glasgow school of art

With left hand flowing over fretboard while the right rattles his acoustic's wooden body and glances over strings, RM Hubbert is one hell of a guitarist. On record, that’s all he is - solo instrumentals only vary so much – but the aura of 'liveness' makes things feel less repetitive. Hubbert’s affability is too low-key to command the room – chatter relegates sections of his performance to background music – but it’s an enjoyable scene-setter nonetheless.

While it's cliché to parrot the indie-poser mantra (“thou must favour the early stuff“), Thee Silver Mt Zion’s changing sound seems to prompt such declarations with every release – if not necessarily towards their finding-their-feet salad days, then for the skewed orchestrations of their Rusted Satellites/Horses in the Sky period. The opening I Built Myself A Metal Bird – from this year’s Kollaps Tradixionales – suggests the contrast isn’t in quality (its ferocious rock squall is invigorating), but in uniqueness as they ebb closer towards a more well-worn post-rock template. The older God Bless Our Dead Marines proves the highlight, the restraint of its gently crumpled canon climax more stirring than blustery crescendos. Efrim Menuck’s troupe is still fantastic, just no longer in a league so far removed from its peers.

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