REVIEW: The Silence Kit – Watershed

TSK_Watershed_2 Panel CD Insert

2014, Azteca Records / Break Even Records

The Silence Kit are a northern US band who out-Brit most of the British bands making music today. Watershed, their latest album, does nothing to diminish that first sentence. It does not aim to reinvent the wheel, and it does not try to be trendy. If you consistently require either quality in your music, you should probably just skip this review and read a different blog…also, maybe pick up a hobby that relaxes you. More to the point, this band does what they want, and they are very good at it.

They waste no time getting started here with “I Could Be”, its rhythms briefly reminding me of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins (and then the tears come out when I remember that the Pumpkins used to be magnificent). This band have far more in common with another similarly psychedelic outfit, The Cure, but not in a ‘sounds like’ sort of way per se: they capture the muted austerity of The Cure’s best moments. Although, shit, “Let’s Pretend We Don’t Know” with its string synths and pounding toms would fit in nicely on Pornography, let’s just be honest here.

We’re getting away from the music of The Silence Kit, though. The point is their music is moody, but you never get the impression that it’s forced or betrays the songs themselves. You can hear the lonely drift of deserts in “Five Hundred Pieces”, and many of the songs have a nocturnal quality. Pat McCay’s broken croon is at its best when the arrangements are stripped back a bit, as evidenced in “It Goes Down”, “I Just Wanted To Think Clearer”, and the jangle of the very brief “Silverware Drawer”.

I guess if there is a downside to Watershed, it’s that it doesn’t really take many risks with the band’s sound and its safety could be seen as a detractor. It’s not the scrappy record in their catalogue that is fighting to win you over (for me, that would probably be their third album, 2010’s Dislocations). Is it worth picking up, though? Absolutely. It’s an older, wiser version of The Silence Kit who have honed their craft to a most pleasurable end result.

(find their music at http://thesilencekit.bandcamp.com/)

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