Having seen such a great response to last month's review of Shinobi Ninja, it is now time for me to don my adventurer's cagoule, replenish my stocks of Kendal mint cake and once more step out into the dark recesses of Uncharted Territory. Brooklyn was our distant destination last month. February sees us planting our flag a little closer to home – St. Helens to be exact. Silver Story are a four piece rock band from the North West who released their debut album, Cold Street Lights, in 2014. Their second release, Minores Lumina, is set to be released in April and, is described as 'a continuation and... a culmination of the concepts and journey described in Cold Street Lights'. With this in mind, we are going to take a look at both albums and take in the full story that the band wish to tell.
The theme at the heart of Cold Street Lights is a sense of not belonging, of feeling a distance from a world that you can see but not touch. Jaded is an ode to disillusionment as the band rally against a 'fake' and 'meaningless' society. My Empire is about retreating into a world of one's own creation and shutting out the harsh realities of the one imposed upon us. Even I'm Not A Hero lauds friendship whilst simultaneously removing some of the joy from it, viewing its lower points as an expectation rather than an opportunity for validation. On the surface, opening track Bleed appears to buck the trend – talking about the road to recovery and personal strength after a life trauma. Look deeper though and you find a sporadic change in vocal tone with harbinger-like warnings of losing the way and losing faith.
Minores Lumina represents the other side of the coin. Featuring three new tracks and three re-recordings of tracks from Cold Street Lights, it is the rays of dawn appearing above the horizon. Lead single Let Me Go is an optimistic anthem of awakening. It is the red pill to Cold Street Lights' blue, it is breaking free from chains, it is standing up to your demons. The same vocal technique is used as in Bleed but, this time, the warnings are countered with hope, shot down with perseverance. It is an intelligent retooling of the concept. It is in the reworked tracks though that we find the real heart of the album. The songs in question are Bleed, My Empire and Of Dreams And Nightmares. Rather than being arbitrary new versions designed as filler, they are obviously designed to provide a different perspective on the songs – to slant their viewpoint and alter their message. Whereas on Cold Street Lights it was a cry for help, hearing front man Alex McCabe sing 'I am broken' on My Empire feels like a cry of acceptance – that we all exist in a flawed society as flawed individuals and, to survive, we must embrace that fact.
On the whole, both albums are very solid rock records. The band list Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Nirvana among their influences. I was reminded of Boy Hits Car, a band whose album I purchased on a Kerrang! recommendation back in 2001. If forced to be critical, I am not a massive fan of singers who feel the need to 'Americanise' their voices (or over-Anglicise for that matter – looking at you, Kate Nash). I believe it creates an immediate barrier between the singer and the audience they are trying to reach and, thus, dilutes the message of the music. I think Silver Story just about get away with it through sheer vocal versatility. As Boy Hits Car did, they combine the lighter voice with a heavy, more metal-sounding scream of an inner voice which bubbles under their work as a constant, nagging echo of self doubt. It is a tactic that works well.
I also think that Cold Street Lights and Minores Lumina tessellate well. There is something refreshing about an artist revisiting earlier work and icing it with a conclusion or a legacy. Too often, bands are so quick to move onto the next album or the next tour that the thought of coming back to a concept three years later is almost unthinkable. Silver Story are a very welcome exception. Minores Lumina is also a beautiful illustration of the power of positive thought and the re-recorded tracks really stand out as the stars of the show. Knowing that a change in arrangement could have such a profound effect on the message of a song shows that Silver Story are a band who understand their material inside out and the levels upon which it works. I am really looking forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Month
“I've seen another realm been floored with wonder//They call it many things don't take me under now”
Let Me Go
St Helens Silver
Tell both sides of the Story
Draw hope from despair
Minores Lumina will be released in April. You can hear Cold Street Lights on Spotify now (link below).
As always, please feel free to write your own review using the comments section below. The more the merrier. Please do take note of our contribution guidelines. Looking forward to hearing what you thought.