Silverstein – This Is How the Wind Shifts
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: February 5th 2013
About three or four years ago, I purchased a copy of Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein’s 2005 record Discovering the Waterfront, which is arguably their most popular record, and while I enjoyed it, it never stuck with me. Mainly it was due to vocalist Shane Told’s rather whiny vocals. I could never really get into them, and therefore, the band itself really just flew past my radars. A few records later, and after releasing a record last year entitled Short Songs, I decided to check out their next proper full length entitled This Is How the Wind Shifts. This record is really interesting for a couple of reasons, and before going into this album, I read that the record has two sides, Side A and Side B. A song on Side A has a sister song on Side B that coincides with it, and the titles even match up as well. I found that insanely interesting, so I really needed to check this out. Thankfully, I found a coupon for it on Best Buy’s Facebook page, and so I purchased the record. I’m very glad I did, because this is one of the most surprising records I’ve listened to in the last couple years, mainly because this is the kind of post-hardcore I really like. I did enjoy Discovering the Waterfront, as I mentioned, but Told’s vocals weren’t exactly my thing. Fast forward about 8 years, and his vocals have improved immensely. His clean vocals are very nice, but not the best I’ve ever heard, and his screams very passionate and done very well. This is a post-hardcore record done right, and really brings to mind bands like Thrice (specifically 2003’s Artist In the Ambulance) and Brand New. And it makes sense that they’re in the same “scene” as them, too. With that all being said, let’s see how the wind shifts, and dive into this record, shall we?
The record begins with “Stand Amid the Roar,” and immediately, it begins with Told screaming his lungs out. Right from the get go, it’s ferocious, and I’m definitely feeling this record. I’ve said a million times that opening tracks are important, and well, this one certainly delivers. Towards the end, there’s a gang vocal part, and it sounds really awesome, actually. This is one of the few post-hardcore bands that manages to mix melody with aggression, but not in a generic or cliché way. Not to mention, Told’s lyrics are absolutely wonderful as well, and here’s a really interesting example from “Stand Amid the Roar,” which is the first track: “We kill at weddings and live for funerals / We’re taking steps on the water just to show / We do whatever we want to.” The lyrics on this whole record are really solid, and are just as great as those, if not better. Third track “Massachusetts” is a bit less aggressive, and does have a very catchy chorus. Almost every song is rather aggressive, but that one not so much. However, fourth track “This Is How,” is where things get interesting. It’s a minute and a half long track that serves as an interlude, and there are three more of these kinds of tracks throughout the record. After that track, it leads me to a bit of a problem with this album – every song is great, but they all sound so similar to one another. They all have the same kind of formula, or at least, most of them do. The thing that keeps it from becoming tiresome is the fact that their sound is awesome, and definitely refreshing within the genre. The most interesting part about this record are the four little “interludes” if you’d call, as well as the “concept” of having one song from the first half coincide from the second. That’s a cool idea, and it does work to its advantage. It’s just, the whole record kind of blurs into one 40-minute song, minus the interludes, because those do separate up the record nicely. That’s not to say there aren’t any highlights of the record, either. As I mentioned, third track “Massachusetts” is a third track, and so is eighth track “A Place of Solace,” because that’s one track that strays from the rest of the record. It manages to stay aggressive, but has a very ambient sound all at once. “In Seas We Drown” is the track right after it, and that also manages to encompass their sound in a very nice way, too; it’s got the aggression, and melody that the band is known for.
As for the rest of the album, it’s very enjoyable, but again, the songs do rather blend together except for a few. Twelfth track “To Live and to Lose” is one of those tracks that’s rather interesting; it starts off with a very quiet and ambient sound with Told singing quietly, and it slowly builds up the whole song. This is also one of the only songs that’s not “heavy” at all, which I really like. It does provide a bit of uniqueness to the record, and it’s great. Last track “Departures” is really interesting closing track, too; it’s the last “interlude” track, even though it’s an outro, if anything. It’s another ambient track, and the song title is a nice fitting one, because it’s a departure on the record, signaling the record is over. It definitely ends the album on a nice note. For being 14 songs, 40 minutes is a nice length for this record. While a lot of the songs do sound rather similar, they do keep it fresh with the little interludes and a few tracks that really stand out. They do a fantastic job with keeping things aggressive but not cliché or generic in the slightest, and that’s exactly what I like to see.
Thankfully someone did a review on this record. And it's a nice one, I agree with what basically everything you've said. Except for your opinion on Discovering the Waterfront. I really love that record, haha.