Silver Sun’s debut album is Teenage Fanclub (sloppy-sounding big guitars) britpop meets Elliott Smith (spesh the falsetto) indie meets horrible sound. Which is bizarre because it was produced by Nigel Goodrich (Radiohead), who has done excellent production work (see: Radiohead). Here he does a bunch of very good pop songs a huge disservice by hiding them behind layers of unpleasant fuzz and distortion. This kind of production might (might) work well on a Mudhoney album or something where the muscle, grit, and gruffness push the melody through, but these songs are often too delicate to stand up to this kind of treatment.
The best tracks are those where, in fact, the band does put some oomph into their songs. They do the quiet-to-loud transitions expertly on “Yellow Light” (where they push a sometimes plodding song into full-heart territory) and “Nobody.” “Lava” features a dual-guitar complement of a rapid-fire one-note ostinato with a syncopated palm-muted thing.
The album features no awful songs, two or three amazing songs (“Lava,” “Wonderful,” and “Nobody” are the best), a few more quite good songs, and the rest split between pleasant and meh. But they’re all made worse by the production…maybe with the exception of the quiet, reflective album-closer “Animal Feets,” whose piano-and-vocals-only (plus garbage truck) production seems to actually match its mood.
Would have been four clowns with better sound.
– “Golden Skin,” “Last Day,” “Yellow Light,” “Lava,” “Wonderful,” “Nobody,” “Animal Feets”
– “Dumb Bitch,” “Julia,” “Service,” “2 Digits,” “This N’ That,” “Bad Haircut”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Golden Skin – (starts with “Test”)
- Dumb Bitch – Nice tune, but good god it sounds awful.
- Julia – a stomp, like an upbeat Elliott Smith song. And then the horns come in big, though I’m not sure they’re actual horns, maybe just synths. Who can tell amid the awful sound?
- Last Day – Great tune, but good god it sounds awful.
- Service – “March is only a month with days”
- Yellow Light –
- Lava –
- 2 Digits – There are two types of open heart songs on here. Ones that are good but just don’t reach a level of full heart, usually because of sound, but sometimes they’re just merely enjoyable. Then there are completely forgettable but harmless songs like this one.
- This N’ That – “She looks like she just stepped through the shower”. Sound is pretty bad here, really overwhelming how the distortion just takes over everything and masks what’s actually going on with the instruments. Decent enough tune. Maybe too much falsetto.
- Wonderful –
- Bad Haircut – “Sitting on the toilet/Waiting to come”
- Nobody –
- Animal Feets – Elliott Smith in a more reflective mood. Beatles-esque sounds at end: saw, trucks, song via stereo