March 2, 2020 Silverstein – A Beautiful Place To Drown (Album Review)
What do Caleb Shomo, Princess Nokia, and Pierre Bouvier have in common? It’s pretty safe to say that the only answer for that question would be Silverstein’s latest, A Beautiful Place To Drown, which sees all three of the aforementioned artists providing guest spots. UNFD delivers the beautiful madness on March 6th, 2020.
If you were thinking it was about time for some new music from Canada’s Silverstein, you are not alone. Ever since the band formed in 2000, they’ve steadily accrued a die-hard fan base across the globe. Their 2003 debut, When Broken Is Easily Fixed, exploded onto the scene, introducing many to Silverstein’s unique sound, one that would see them billed as both Emo and Screamo throughout their early career. A career that would, in fact, go on to produce an exceptional eight additional LPs over the next 14 years, including 2005’s Discovering the Waterfront, 2011’s Rescue, and 2017’s Dead Reflection.
At two decades and going strong, Silverstein—Vocalist Shane Told, Guitarists Paul Marc Rousseau and Josh Bradford, Bassist Billy Hamilton, and Drummer Paul Koehler—have influenced an entire generation of bands. Now, however, they are ready to demand the spotlight yet again with their impressive tenth disc, A Beautiful Place To Drown. Produced, engineered, and mixed by Sam Guaiana (Like Pacific, Rarity), the 12-song collection sees a dynamic Silverstein crossing genres and soundscapes, juxtaposing melancholia with sunshine, and continuing to wear their battered hearts on their black and blue sleeves.
A Beautiful Place To Drown opens to the infectious confessions of “Bad Habits,” bubblegum angst that features Prog Rocker, and fellow Canadian, Aaron Marshall of Intervals. Prepared to keep you singing along, “Burn It Down” delivers massive catchy hooks and an epic guest spot from powerhouse vocalist Caleb Shomo of Beartooth. Here, the harmonies layer perfectly, creating a rocking earworm that cannot be denied.
The third song in a row that opens with delicious bass lines from Hamilton, “Where Are You” sees Told’s mind swirling with a high-tide of longing. Musings such as “If my head stops spinning will my heart stop too?” are a clear reminder that this band was born of all things emotion. Next, Underøath’s Aaron Gillespie helps to reflect the overwhelming thoughts (“How can I be an optimist when all this feels infinite?”) that are baked into the darkly vast rocker “Infinite.”
Midtempo rocker “Shape Shift” calls out the liars and chameleons who change their colors too often to be trusted, while the poignant, ballad-esque “All On Me” lulls the listener with its pleas. And then, BAM! Saxophone enters the mix. (Yes, saxophone!) This paves a path back to those evil bass licks on “Madness,” a track that features Princess Nokia providing a Rap interlude that is fiery insanity. Fear not, they get superbly upbeat and catchy for “Say Yes!,” which leans heavily on the band’s Pop-sensibilities, a style that continues into the groove-laden guitars of “Stop.”
Piano opens “September 14th” which goes for Pop-Punk pacing before they switch gears to present yet another infectious offering, the juxtaposed “Coming Down” (“I’ve been falling so long I forgot what it feels like to be alright”), one that you can easily dance to. Ultimately, they end with the twinkling sonics of Pop-Punker “Take What You Give,” featuring the unmistakable vocals of Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan. Another bubblegum approach to melancholia, this serves as a reflective moment to end their latest collection on.
From saxophone to Rap, Pop-Punk to Screamo, Silverstein have served up a truly dynamic collection that never grows dull. The album’s oxymoronic title works as a suitable theme for the material contained within, an album that often sounds like summer rays warming the skin as Told laments the gray skies in life and love. Hardly a depressing romp or a one-note drag, A Beautiful Place To Drown provides enough diversity and infectiousness to guarantee that its listeners will walk away with a smile on their face and the band’s words tattooed on their hearts. Insert a pun about bad habits here, and Cryptic Rock gives Silverstein’s A Beautiful Place To Drown 5 of 5 stars.