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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Kollaps Tradixionales
Constellation

Rating: 8.8/10 ?


July 14, 2010
Efrim Menuck wrote a riff. Sure, it's in 7/4, the vocal pattern is unpredictable and it carries for over six minutes, but it's an honest-to-god riff: direct, discernable, and catchy. Welcome, Efrim. This is our punk rock.

Backpedaling after 2008's floundering 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, Menuck's post-Godspeed You! Black Emperor collective now thrives as a five-piece. New drummer David Payant continues the prominently heavy drumming of 13 Blues' livelier bits with much-needed energy and elegance, allowing the band to progress without sacrificing the polished brooding that has always characterized Menuck's bands.

The aforementioned riff-based "I Built Myself a Metal Bird" gives listeners enough direct incentive to stick around, but it's not even the standout. SMZ is more in its element when building near-silence into a swooping crescendo on "I Fed My Metal Bird the Wings of Other Metal Birds." This willingness to try something new without compromising a unique sound is what ranks this album right alongside 2005's Horses in the Sky as the only SMZ albums that live up to Godspeed's legacy.

The real high point is the chilling "Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos)" which finds Menuck's guitar (the lone electric instrument amongst the strings and drums) tearing ferociously through an impossible polyrhythm with typical apocalyptic pizzazz.

The hollow mourning of "'Piphany Rambler" is the only true post-rock moment on Kollaps, and without it you have the first perfect album co-signed by Menuck in a decade. Still, three sides out of four simultaneously showcase Menuck's strained voice and his band's proficiency. While nothing will fully get SMZ out from Godspeed's shadow, this comes close. At the very least, it should win new converts just in time for the long-awaited reunion.

Reviewed by JJ Lang


See other reviews by JJ Lang

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