Archive for the ‘The Silent World’ Category

The Silent World Return

Monday, January 19th, 2015

The Silent World were always one of those post-rock bands that fit the label without fitting any of the cliches. They were instrumental and atmospheric but steered clear of the tremolo/delay abuse schtick. They structured their songs around slow builds and cathartic crescendos but you couldn’t predict where the next four bars would take you. Their krautrock tendencies kept things a little grounded and a little off-kilter, and their penchant for math rock was subtle enough that the music was listenable yet complex, like they were less interested in odd time signatures than trying to locate some golden ratio of riffage.

After five years of activity, things slowed down, people moved interstate and The Silent World were functionally retired, but they’re back — at least for a little while — to launch their latest effort, a four track self-titled EP and the follow-up to 2010’s An Eye for an Ear. Distance and time has honed the quintet’s songwriting craft, and it helps that they’ve apparently upgraded their recording setup, giving the songs on The Silent World appropriate sonic space to breathe the same way they do in the flesh.

The notes on opener “Grim Trigger” ring out with a surgical precision, as though the pluck of every string is a weighty act of religious piety requiring the exact amount of pressure. It’s evident early on that this isn’t the cinematic post-rock of so many instrumental outfits. The Silent World seemed less less interested in painting a picture with sound and more concerned with that nebulous concept of feel as layers are built upon layers and riffs are as important to melody as they are to rhythm as an ocean of tension ebbs and flows like the tide.

“I Go Satellite” forgoes the immediacy of its predecessor in favour of plodding build-ups but struggles to find resolution, while “Shortbus” gets a little closer to the mark, unfolding like an energetic and wordless ballad with flurries of clean and barely distorted guitars playing out with perfect subtlety. Subtlety is something The Silent World do better than most and on this track abounds with understated moments of brilliance.

Closing gambit “Kepler Fever” is the real kicker. I didn’t know it was possibly for a song to kick my ass softly until this. The tremolo picking is kept to a minimum and the crescendo creeps up a little after the halfway point, but it’s never over-bearing and never obvious. This is music for contemplative road trips and elevator epiphanies.

The Silent World aren’t standing up and telling you when to rock out and when to sway back and forth with the rhythm; instead, they’re sitting comfortably, perfectly content to let you figure that out for yourself. Check them out while you still can.

The Silent World launch their self-titled EP at The Rosemount Hotel on Thursday, January 22, with support from Lanark, Race To Your Face and The Ron Pollard Quintet.