The debut album is always a major moment in the life of a band or artist. It is that first entry into the ears of hungry listeners, the best of what one has to offer in order to pique interest and pull in the fans. Early singles lead the path, but it is the album that lays down that foundation. As Dublin born five piece Silverbacks release their own, Fad, the strength in their foundation is clear, with a great deal of promise of where it can take them. Fad, as we know is a word used to describe a short lived craze, and so calls out to the album’s themes of pop culture and battles between generations. Silverbacks take an artful approach to breaking it down and making sense of it all in harmonious disarray.
Opening track Dunkirk launches straight into it, picking up the pace that borders on erratic, while short statements reflect the feeling of being overwhelmed by fleeting moments. Not only does it reference many cultural and political tropes, it also journeys through many genre traits, pointedly remarking against the “same old punk shit” that is referred to throughout. It is a high tempo, guitar driven energy that seems to lighten up towards the end into an art rock sound. A solid entry into the album indeed.
The rhythms continue to flow into Pink Tide, evoking the feeling of chasing something or merely keeping up with a world that is quickly changing right before us. Two songs into Fad and the standard is set for songs taking unexpected turns into new directions, while leaving space for more delights to come.
“This is poetry being given the hard fist of post punk.”
While rhythms are key in this album, there is also so much more to be heard. Drink It Down really pulls on the lyrical focus, through a storytelling tone of classic rhyming patterns – this is poetry being given the hard fist of post punk. Add to that the short instrumentals littered throughout the album and you have some striking contrasts at play, particularly the eerie Travel Lodge Punk. An ominous buzz plays for a minute, piercing through the eardrum and channeling a mind numbing tone before background noises creep through. No effort is wasted on this album as even this one soundscape creates a feeling of blocking out the noise of the world for a moment.
Then just like that, the energy is back as Just In The Band reverberates through to the body; foot tapping, head shaking and finger drumming galore. It is here, at the midpoint of the album, that the raw feeling of Silverbacks’ sound pulls together. Everything feels completely natural, yet so wonderfully thought out and is reminiscent of numerous gigs once attended at a local haunt. A physical place to get lost in the music, and now Fad carries it through to the present in a mental capacity. Still, “getting lost” and “blocking out the noise” is not what it is all about.
“For this to just be the start for Silverbacks is wildly exciting”
This album makes sure to feel the strain of the world, with desperation to be heard in the vocals, but also a sense of unity, even in the plainest method of vocals being shared among the band. Silverbacks are a cohesive unit, fresh with a comforting feel of nostalgia. They weave in astounding variations of guitar and though the album peaks and troughs, it is different with each listen.
The most divine consistency however comes with the closing track, Last Orders. Besides their now trademark guitar and rhythm combo, and “screw the system before it screws you” angst, this track softens up with some sweet vocals. Silverbacks reset the ruckus with a tender outro of delicate, mumbling vocals, tying everything up in a neat little bow of calm. Fad is an absolute masterpiece of a debut, and for this to just be the start for Silverbacks is wildly exciting.