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"orchestral tear cash-flow"? huh?

 

Silverchair

 

Continuing my trend of reviewing 90s groups that people tend to look down on, here's Silverchair. They're from Australia! So hand me a Foster's, put another shrimp on the barby, and think up some more Australian stereotypes.

lineup: Ben Gillies (drums); Chris Joannou (bass) Daniel Johns (vocals, guitar)

review index: Frogstomp / Freakshow / Neon Ballroom / Diorama

missing albums: none


Frogstomp - 1995

Rating: ***1/2
Best songs: Israel's Son, Tomorrow, Pure Massacre, Shade
Worst songs: Madman, Findaway

 

Ever see a Pearl Jam video and say to yourself, "shit, I could do that"?

Er...sorry, I just remembered that plagiarism is something a writer shouldn't do. Time to start over.

Actually, I don't hear any Pearl Jam in this group. Maybe lead screamer/guitarist Daniel Johns sounds a little like Eddie Vedder, but certainly there are people who are guiltier of that by a much larger margin (*cough*Creed*cough*). The music is somewhat harder than Pearl Jam too. Actually, for sixteen-year-old kids, they're pretty good on their instruments; they're certainly better than, say, Bush.

And look, the songwriting ain't no slouch, neither! "Tomorrow" was the single, and is quite a catchy jingle indeed. "Israel's Son", "Pure Massacre", and some others are cool rockin' tunes, and so on. Yeah, it's predictable (quiet/loud dynamics? what a shock!), but so was Nevermind. So screw you, person-who-looks-down-on-popular-music!

Sorry. I didn't mean it. It was just a joke. Can we still be friends?

Oh, also: "Leave Me Out" rips off the riff from "Sweet Leaf". Ain't it a pity?


Freakshow - 1997

Rating: ****
Best songs: Freak, Slave, Abuse Me, Pop Song for Us Rejects
Worst songs: Lie to Me, Roses

 

Now here's a good album, because it rocks, which is an essential requirement for any album, unless of course it's Greatest Hits by the Eagles, which is so perfect in its simplicity that it doesn't need to rock; anyway, the album kicks off great with the rock cuts "Slave" (neat tempo changes!) and "Freak", and then features the pretty "Abuse Me" (geez, what's with these titles? someone got emotional problems?), then it sucks for a minute and a half with the crappy punky "Lie to Me", goes onto the slightly-weird "No Association", and then continues with the quieter "Cemetary" (featuring Daniel Johns' cute Australian pronunciation of the titular word) and the electric sitar-featuring "The Door" and oddly happy-sounding "Pop Song for Us Rejects", gets its rock on again with "Learn to Hate" (featuring a misheard lyric, uh, I thought he said 'masturbate' in there), includes Indian instrumentation on "Petrol & Chlorine", sucks again with the dull "Roses", regains itself with the nearly-epic "Nobody Came", and ends appropriately with a track called "The Closing", which is pretty good too, so buy this album.


Neon Ballroom - 1999

Rating: ***
Best songs: Emotion Sickness, Ana's Song (Open Fire), Anthem for the Year 2000
Worst songs: Spawn Again, Satin Sheets

 

Somewhat disappointing. Despite the presence of several top-notch tracks (the bombastic opener "Emotion Sickness", the er, anthemic "Anthem for the Year 2000" and AOR-ready "Ana's Song"), this album as a whole suffers from a lack of memorable tunes. Much like this site suffers from a lack of memorable reviews.

Ha. Self-deprecation = funny. Whatever.


Diorama - 2002

Rating: ***1/2
Best songs: The Greatest View, Across the Night, World Upon Your Shoulders, One Way Mule
Worst songs: none, really...

 

Good Lord, what happened? This sounds nothing like the children-of-the-grunge Silverchair of the previous decade that we know and I-love-but-everyone-else-hates. I mean, hell, aside from the subdued-crunchy guitars, the opener "Across the Night" sounds like a friggin' showtune or something.

To be honest, I'm finding it hard to put any words on this album. For some reason, it's eluding me. I like it, but beyond that, it's just kind of floating above my head or something. Maybe it's because Daniel Johns is still so damn cute, it's distracting me from the actual music. Which is odd, I don't usually notice that sort of thing with musicians. Half the time, though, I don't even know what they look like, especially with these indie bands too cheap to put any damn pictures in the liner notes.

What the HELL am I talking about? Jesus Christ, this is an album review, people! Oh well... Anyway, "One Way Mule" is about the only remainder of the old Silverchair derivative...ah...I mean, sound. The last few songs kind of lose me, mostly because the album could've done with being a bit shorter. Eh...I like it, that's all that matters. Right? Right?

I'm going to go stare at that picture of Daniel Johns for a while. Mmm...Australian...


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