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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Silver Sunshine
Silver Sunshine
Empyrean Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

February 4, 1999
Listening to Silver Sunshine's debut record reminds me of stumbling through FM radio stations desperately trying to find something worth listening to (which, consequently, is why I only listen to sports talk on AM radio). After making your way past the three stations playing Phil Collins, two others playing Peter Gabriel, pausing to curse the two rival stations playing the same shitty Evanescence songs, and moving on to one station playing music that was popular when Roosevelt was still in office, you inevitably happen upon a classic rock station, stopping for a moment trying to figure out if you recognize the band.

"Sounds like Yes, or is it ELO, or..."

Either way, it doesn't matter. It could be Bob Denver for all you know, but much like sense recognition, your synapses fire for a moment at its presence. The song continues, you sing along for a bit, then turn on the 80s station because the music is so much more endearing and comical.

I feel like it's cheating if I claim I'm a child of the 70s considering I was born in 1977. I'm only familiar with the music of the era because of film and my parents. As I quickly approach the age of 27, I realize the first music I recall listening to was from the 80s, so earlier eras seem foreign to me to a degree - not that the music is bad, rather, I feel like I missed out on much of the experience.

Silver Sunshine, however, seem right at home with their vinyl and 8 tracks, their Beatles memorabilia and posters of the Kinks. They run the gamut on their debut self-titled disc, touching on every style famous at the time. They're quite adept at crafting modern psychedelic pop, lazy, daydreaming meanderings, progressive classic rock tunes... it's all here, straightforward and saturated with nostalgia, which is interesting in part because most retro rock bands strive for an 80s vibe, but to compare them to modern bands is difficult, considering their sound is dated.

So I have to compare them to bands from the 70s, and unfortunately, Silver Sunshine doesn't quite stack up. For starters, they lack the decade appeal. "The 00s" isn't nearly as appealing as the "the 70s." They also lack the thirty year period when their music can repetitiously pound its way into the collective public's mind, so that they stop and sing along, scratch their ass, then move on with their day.

It's not that Silver Sunshine isn't talented, nor is it that they fail in their endeavor. From what I gather, they succeed in precisely their goal: to create a 70s inspired rock record. The problem is that it's not the 70s - the sound is foreign now, the scene, dead, the entrepreneurs, old. While some music adapts and progresses, psychedelic pop seems stuck, purposely so, in a completely different time, and that's its failing: there are already quite accomplished bands that have done everything Silver Sunshine achieves.

Reviewed by David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other reviews by David Spain



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