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Old 04-30-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
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Silverchair - Young Modern review

So, it's offical. All traces of Cobain worship have been expunged and the band has developed its own musical identity. Don't get me wrong, I love Diorama and Neon Ballroom with a fiery passion, and still occasionally enjoy tracks from Frogstomp and Freakshow. The strings on songs like "Emotion Sickness" and "Black Tangled Heart" were the start, but I think Van Dyke Parks' contribution to the last album and Daniel's collaborations with Paul Mac have really redefined the band and finally allowed them to find their own voice.

The opening track, "Young Modern Station" is a declaration of change, with Johns stating that he is "stalled at young modern station" and that he has "stuck to the goal to rescue [his] own skin." The music is electronically tinged and almost danceable. The obvious choice for dealing with the "stall" is to move on.

This sentiment is echoed in the first single, "Straight Lines." The depression that Johns so clearly wrote of in the past is addressed, with the resolution to be a "desperate believer" and walk through "in a straight line." The only way out is through, as it were. The song is alternately quiet and loud, but not in the same way as early hits like "Pure Massacre." The music swells to anthemic levels, building over several verses, making the anticipation as much a part of the experience as the volume. The Dissociatives' influence is definietly present, but it's still a Silverchair song.

Freed from past demons and having made a bold musical declaration, the band delves into entirely new territory. "If You Keep Losing Sleep" is a frenetic number with a concert-friendly "da doo doo" opening, and begs to be a concert staple for a few tours. "Reflections of a Sound" is another song about moving towards happiness from depression. It's a whimsically pretty song, and a highlight of the album.

Next is the three-parter, "Those Thieving Birds (Part 1)/Strange Behaviour/Those Thieving Birds (Part 2)." While "Tuna in the Brine" from Diorama was a lengthy song with orchestral tinges, this is a soaring mini-epic. The pop song in the middle seems to be about embracing quirks and uniqueness as a means to combat life's difficulties. Certainly a fitting song for this band. The music is propulsive and poppy before lulling back into "Those Thieving Birds."

"The Man Who Knew Too Much" contains some surprising blues elements as does "Mind Reader," albeit with a more incendiary punk bent by way of T. Rex. It is in this track that the piano starts to really make its presence felt on the album.

"Low" is a surprising song as well. It is driven dually by piano and a Clapton-esque guitar. The acoustic guitar underneath of the track really brings it all together. The vocal layering is magnificent, too. Lyrically it is a bit more ambivalent than some tracks on the album, providing a nice counterpoint to the sunny arrangement.

"Insomnia" is another vocal standout for Johns. The piano is again the most noticable instrument, though it comes across somewhat muted in the production.

The album closes with "All Across the World," a lush orchestral track with strong Beatles-esque melodies. It's a call for forgiveness and acceptance among humanity, a counterpoint to the self-acceptance of the album's opening songs. While not as instantly memorable as past closers like "After All These Years" or "Steam Will Rise," it's a fitting close to an album by a band that has finally found itself.

The album was a hard listen for me the first time or two, but it's grown on me significantly. While some tracks, especially "Waiting All Day," are still growing on me, I believe that it's a reinvention on par with Sgt. Peppers and Achtung Baby. While it may not quite reach those heights in quality, it is an adventurous record. I hope that they finally get some attention in the States again, they've grown so much since they had exposure here, and we missed out on a great album in Diorama. Let's not let it happen with Young Modern.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:33 PM   #2
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To me, Straight Lines is all very Coldplay-esque, and I just get this impression that that is what Silverchair have been trying to do with this album, go all Coldplay...

Not necessarily a bad thing, and good to see an Aussie band reinventing themselves, as good as Freak Show was as an album.

Mind you, Aussie music lovers have always seemed to be against bands changing their sound and image, or at least that's the vibe I'm getting from how Young Modern is being recieved by associates.

It just seems that those who liked old school Silverchair absolutely despise the new Silverchair...
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by intedomine
To me, Straight Lines is all very Coldplay-esque, and I just get this impression that that is what Silverchair have been trying to do with this album, go all Coldplay...
I would say that if it weren't for the fact that Daniel'd already started going that way with the Dissociatives. I think it's just them coming from another place. Have you heard the whole album?
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:58 PM   #4
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Nah, I haven't, so I'm pretty unqualified, but that's just the vibe I'm getting from Straight Lines, and even the band's "image" upon the release of this album.

Might check the album out sooner or later.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:01 PM   #5
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I love Diorama and can't stand most of their early stuff. So I guess this new one is right up my alley...
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:07 PM   #6
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I'm just so excited that there are other silverchair fans here. I've seen them on their past two trips here to LA, and oh my are they amazing. The new album takes a few listens for true appreciation and love to set in.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:31 AM   #7
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I was never much of fan of Silverchair, but I brought Young Modern on a CD Shopping Binge...and was quite surprised
I really enjoyed my 1.5 listens to the album so far
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