“This Is Our Punk-Rock,” Thee Rusted Satellites Gather & Sing (Constellation)
by Brian Varney
In case you don’t know, Silver Mt. Zion (I ain’t typing that whole name out again, thanks) is a Godspeed You! Black Emperor side project, so if you’re at all familiar with that band’s output (and, if you’re not, you really should be), you’ll know right away what to expect – wordy, pretentious album and song titles, obtuse, artsy packaging laid out like a particularly difficult issue of Raygun (the magazine that ran an entire interview with Brian Ferry in wingding font), and liner notes packed with conspiracy theory wackiness. Yeah, it’s all pretty silly, but if you can stomach being condescended to by the worst sort of hypocrite (y’know, the folks who talk shit about “the man” and “the system” and big corporations but who smoke Camels and drive SUVs), you’re in for some awfully pretty ambient music.
It’s hard to tell from said liner notes how many folks make up this band or what they play, but based on the aural evidence, the tracks (four of ’em comprising the album’s nearly 58-minute running time) are driven primarily by the beautiful, soaring string lines, but also populated by tentative, airy guitar lines and the occasional burst of percussion. I’d say it’s probably a six or eight-piece band, but that’s only a guess. There are also, in what is the most obvious divergence from GY!BE, vocals (hence the “choir” bit in the band name). The vocals are ragged and rather haphazardly rendered and I’d just as soon not have ’em on here at all, but they show up infrequently enough that they can easily be ignored if you don’t like ’em.