Silverstein

This Is How The Wind Shifts

Written by: TL on 15/02/2013 15:08:34

We've discussed it before, but now I think it's time to call it - if indeed it hasn't been for a while: Silverstein are the Bad Religion of emocore. Save for last year's indulgent adventure into their hardcore roots, the five records the Ontario quintet have written since 2005's classic "Discovering The Waterfront" - now counting the recently released "This Is How The Wind Shifts", have been so similar that the changes in the band's sound have been so subtle that you have to really look for them to notice any at all. Mastering the back and forth between metalcore heaviness and bittersweet chorus melody like few others, Silverstein have found what they're good at and pretty much stuck to it, reliable placing some great singles among more decent filler material on album after album, and on "This Is How The Wind Shifts" the band seem nowhere near losing any steam while keeping this tradition going.

If you need something to identify "This Is How The Wind Shifts" by however, its main trait of character is that it is another attempt by Silverstein at a concept album: This time coupling songs across the spread of the album via titles and lyrics that - in Sliding Doors-ish fashion - deal with the idea on how the fate of a person or a situation hinges on the outcome of a single specific situation. Does the girl take her chances and go to "California" or does she stay in "Massachusetts", toiling with yearning and the regret of never leaving?

Such questions encourage the listener to discover how the songs on the album fit together, rearranging the sequencing and delving into the lyrics, which is regrettably an angle I think the album needs a little too much: Because the quality of Silverstein's highly unique and by now highly refined style is only too rarely emphasised with hooks that rank among the band's best. The exceptions to this come mainly in leading singles "Massachusetts" and "Stand Amid The Roar", the former thriving by one of the most infectious choruses I've heard so far this year, and the latter pummeling you with a crunchy motherfucker of a main riff and turning anthemic towards its escalating bridge. Meanwhile "Hide Your Secrets" and "California" win on closer inspection although they admittedly belong in a second tier, and closer "Departures" toys with some interesting post-rock-ish elements.

- But those are five songs mentioned out of the album's total fourteen, and too often do the remaining nine strike me with the strange feeling that I have to will myself to appreciate what's there. The music flows, the dynamics are solid and so is the production - Silverstein sound like they're at the top of their game, but somehow things still float together in a slightly disappointing sameyness. It makes you wonder if the pairing of tracks in singer Shane Todd's overall concept hasn't exposed Silverstein's main weakness, which is the inflexibility of the very thing they're good at. That is to say, that while "This Is How The Wind Shifts" showcase the usual varying degrees of hardness that the genre veterans are capable of, it's becoming increasingly apparent that they don't have it in them, to write an album of nine or ten great individual songs - let alone an album counting fourteen of them. And maybe Silverstein are okay with that - Maybe they're cool with their albums having some songs that only make their mark on the super fans, and that's all okay, but when facing our mercyless rating scale, one has to account for the blunt truth that like the last couple of Silverstein album's "This Is How The Wind Shifts" is an album you're likely to appreciate more for its few singles than for its total coherency.

7

Download: Massachusetts, Stand Amid The Roar, Hide Your Secrets, California
For The Fans Of: Funeral For A Friend, Story Of The Year, Emery,
Listen: facebook.com/silversteinmusic

Release Date 05.02.2013
Hopeless / Roadrunner / Universal

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