Some say years as a touring band are somehow sped up, with such a flood of experiences happening so fast that just a few years on the road can seem like a decade. It can be overwhelming or exhilarating, or both depending on one‘s perspective, but ultimately it leads to a life-changing maturity. Perspective plays a key role in Silverstein‘s new album, “Discovering The Waterfront”; it is a central theme in songs that explore self-determination and coping with change. Addiction to negative relationships is another recurrent theme, from the opening track; “Your Sword Versus My Dagger” to “My Heroine”, lyricist/vocalist Shane Told is beyond candid as he tells stories of obsession, hopelessness and ultimately redemption. The music is flawlessly executed, with powerful instrumentation and the melodic/raw vocal juxtaposition that Told delivers seamlessly.
Silverstein formed in Burlington, Ontario, on the outskirts of Toronto in 2000. Emerging from the thriving hardcore scene in their hometown, the band began honing their sound, and recording whenever possible. Two EPs followed and a former member of Grade began talking the band up to his friends at Victory Records. The band signed with Victory shortly afterward. They released “When Broken Is Easily Fixed” which went on to sell over 200,000 copies worldwide, earning the band a spot in Alternative Press‘ 100 Bands You Need To Know in the spring of 2005. Non-stop touring followed and Silverstein became one of the most talked about bands on the hardcore/emo scene. Many fans responded with tattoos of their distinctive robot artwork – a permanent display of their devotion.
Despite an almost constant touring schedule with bands like Hawthorne Heights and Fall Out Boy, Silverstein continued to write, drawing from their own experiences as well as the world around them. At first glance, “Already Dead” might seem to express extraordinarily brutal thoughts of a stalker, perhaps from a too-personal angle. In fact, the award winning novel, “The Lovely Bones”, as opposed to an actual relationship, inspired the song. Years on the road are examined as well, with bitter revelations of growing apart from longtime friends as well as the changing perceptions that are an inevitable bi-product of time and distance from the familiar. What sets these songs apart is their passionate, muscular delivery: complex meter changes and metallic dual guitars complement each other, showcasing the band‘s skin-tight musicianship.
When time was found in their packed schedule to record, the band found a soul mate in producer Cameron Webb, who has recorded bands like Motorhead, Social Distortion, and Ben Folds Five. “The session was done in California so we lived for a long time away from family and friends. I was completely alone when I did most of the vocal tracks and I think the focus I was able to achieve was really important. You can hear it on the record, remembers Told. “We were intimidated by the legends Cameron worked with previously, but he was so friendly and easy going that he really got the best performances out of us.” The album was recorded in part at one of the most recognized studios in the country, Capitol Studios in Hollywood. “Capitol blew us away. Next to us, Bon Jovi was recording strings. The number of huge bands that have walked through those doors is ridiculous,” said drummer Paul Koehler. Shane adds, “Waking up and driving there every day made us feel like real musicians, like a real band. When we got in there we had more drive because of the setting. I think that shines through, especially in the drumming.”
During the recording, the band was working hard on the packaging, with artist Martin Wittfooth creating the gorgeous paintings that would bring the album‘s concept into sharp focus. “We wanted the art to tell the story of someone struggling to decide which direction to take his life in, staying in a place that is known, depicted as the dark city in the background, or he can go into the water, where his fate is unknown. The water in the painting seems to go into oblivion, its metaphoric for fear of change. The protagonist in the paintings finds a message in a bottle, and it allows him to take the chance to end up in a better place,” explains Told.
With the heavy lifting of recording and packaging wrapped up, a video for the first single, “Smile In Your Sleep” was the next step. Settling on a concept paying homage to the board game Clue, they began filming with Marc Ricciardelli in the mansion that served as the set for the hit movie Billy Madison. “The song, ‘Smile In Your Sleep’ is a dark song about jealousy, deception and ultimately murder” explains Shane. “Our director came up with the Clue concept and it gave us a chance to have a little fun with the video. Each of us wears the colors of the characters, there are all the weapons, and of course, there is a butler. I think it‘s going to look great, we can‘t wait for fans to see it.”
Silverstein will spend summer 2005 playing Warped Tour before embarking on a promotional tour of the United States, which leads into overseas shows and a direct support slot on the North American Hawthorne Heights tour. It‘s easy to see that their work ethic hasn‘t wavered and life on the road will continue as they bring their thought provoking new songs to music fans everywhere. On “Discovering The Waterfront”, Silverstein uses their infectious, melodic songs with a metallic edge to explore the struggle inherent in choosing a path and making the hard decisions life presents to us all.
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