Silverstein - Transitions EP
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Silverstein has always been something of a take-it-or-leave-it type of band. Since Discovering the Waterfront and Arrivals and Departures, the band has used a consistent sound with little variance, leading to a divide between loyal fans and those who consider the band to be somewhat tiresome. Quite simply, Silverstein is either a band that you like or you don't like, and not many are in between.
Transitions, the band's first release for Hopeless Records, isn't going to affect this schism. The four-song EP consists of three new songs and a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Wish". The opener, "Sacrifice", is most like Silverstein's past work. Shane Told's screaming/singing combination is at full force and is as successful as ever. He has always had a knack for complementing himself nicely and this track is no exception. However, the track's strongest points are perhaps its downfall as well. The band shows little to no progression from 2009's A Shipwreck In the Sand, which for a Silverstein fan isn't a problem, but by the same token won't draw in new listeners. Like I said...take it or leave it.
"Darling Harbour" shows both the band's Canadian way of spelling things and its softer side. Told doesn't unleash any screams here, but this slight change of pace doesn't detract too far from the band's past either. Silverstein has released soft songs before. The track remains an enjoyable listen, with the most unsettling part being the less-than-stellar lyrics.
"Dancing On My Grave" starts with a blistering breakdown and some heavy vocals from Told. This is where Silverstein is at its best. Told goes back and forth between screaming and singing, which is where he shines. The guitar work from Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford remains consistently solid and Paul Koelher's drums keep the pace for face-melting guitar riffs and another breakdown in the bridge. This track is the standout of the EP and hopefully reflects what the band is doing with its upcoming 2011 full length release.
Silverstein is a veteran band; they know what they can do, and they do it well. I personally remain a supporter of the group and will continue to pay attention to the music they put out. It doesn't bother me in the slightest that they release music that sounds similar to music that they've written before. This is just their sound and it's where they have found comfort. Not all bands need to take wild chances if they find success in a particular sound and have a fan base that continues to appreciate it. Surely people will continue to complain about the band's lack of variability, but hell, they'd probably complain if the band went off into another direction anyway.
Edit: The download I received of this album was missing an acoustic song, "Replace You", so it was not mentioned in the review.
The concept album of Shipwreck In The Sand was a nice medium to make their sound a little fresher. More concept albums in the future (even though I don't think their upcoming album is) might have the same effect. This EP is nothing special though, and I don't think any particular one bests the songs on Shipwreck In The Sand. Hearing this out of context of a transition EP these all could have been b-sides.
I respect the fact that they keep to the same sound. So many bands over the years have tried to reinvent their sound and have seriously pissed off their fan base. It is one thing to tweak your sound and experiment, but some bands take it way too far and sound so different that they seriously should change the band's name.