Silverchair - Young Modern

By Stefan (popsyndicate.com)


Silverchair is back but will you recognize them?

Fans of Silverchair are either going to be pleasantly surprised or completely pissed off with the release of their latest album Young Modern.  If you’ve been a fan from the beginning, you no doubt know that with each CD release Silverchair changes their style.  Seventeen years (sic) after the release of their debut album, Frogstomp, Silverchair has shucked off the spirit of Kurt Cobain and now warmly wraps themselves in the robes of prog rock via David Bowie and Brian Eno.  

I haven’t listened to Silverchair since their second release in 1997.  When I saw the new disc, I was surprised they were still around and curious to find out what they’ve been up to.  Much to my surprise, the Silverchair of today is not the same band of a decade ago.  Leading off the LP is “Young Modern Station”.  This is the hardest and most driving track on the album.  It’s got the flavor of the Hoodoo Gurus with a mix of modern alt rock.  Slightly trippy with a rocking edge, lead singer Daniel Johns’ voice is soft and melodic with a tinge of falsetto.  Not in that annoying nasally Coldplay way but more clean and relaxed.

This is followed by “Straight Lines.” This is a toe-tapping pop-infused number that really embraces their new sound and sets the tone for the rest of the album.  Gone are the edgy guitars and driving drums, in their place you’ll find lots of piano, synthesizers and sting instruments.  “If You Keep Losing Sleep” blends the craftiness of Oingo Boingo with Bowie’s melodies to create a grandiose display of sounds and tempos.  

The three part “Those Thieving Birds (Part 1)/Strange Behavior/Those Thieving Birs (Part 2)” has a surreal Beach Boys flair blending Brian Wilson with ‘70’s glam rock.  Strings swirl while guitars jump into accent Johns vocals.  This is the most accomplished track on the disc and shows the range of Silverchair new sounds.

“Waiting All Day” is sure to be a favorite in coffeehouses across the land.  It’s pop melodies are relaxing and feels instantly familiar and recognizable upon first listening.  “Mind Reader” brings back the guitars and driving rhythms.  It’s still not the rock of their earlier years but it’s the closest thing you’ll find on the disc.  Sounding like a lost tack from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, “Mind Reader” has attitude and glam rock sass.  “Low” follows up with a more ‘70’s country rock flow thanks to the addition of a slide guitar.  Finishing out the album is the carnival of “All Across the World”.  It’s a fitting coda to a highly enjoyable CD.

Many people will love this LP and they have every reason to.  While alienating many of their long time fans, Silverchair should have no problem picking up new ones.  Young Modern is almost a concept album in its creativeness.  This isn’t an album where one or two tracks will just jump off the disc at you.  Young Modern needs to be enjoyed as a whole as each song builds and blends off the previous.  The Aussie trio has fully embraced their new sound and it will be interesting to see if they can get their fans to go with them.

[Chairpage note - The article states Young Modern was released seventeen year after Frogstomp. This of course is incorrect as Frogstomp was released in 1995 and Young Modern in 2007... 12 years...]