Friday, 15 April 2016

Silences - Luna EP review

Silences are a five-piece from Armagh who have steadily been building a fervent local following through a string of EPs, 'Luna' being the latest and, as I will cover, by far the most full-bodied.

While what undoubtedly grabs the attention for many are the softer acoustic numbers, this EP, bar the beatless and still gorgeous last track, shows off dynamics that should have fans begging for a full-length.

'There's a Wolf', as lead singer Conchur White revealed to Clash Music, was written three years before Silences was formed. Starting off with a juddering synth line and a soft acoustic guitar, it quickly pares back to just voice and axe. But those first few seconds signpost that this song has meat on the bones. Drums peek through the window and instruments are plugged in, before gang vocals emulate a wolf pack for a few bars and the melodic pattern is repeated with a few extra layers of instruments.
The actual melodic structure of the song is fairly simple and repetitive, but in three minutes the wolf stirs itself and finds its roar. A build and climax comparable to early-mid-period Radiohead.

'Breathless' would be a good description after that opening track. Some nice guitar lines, a synth and a drum machine bring you back down to earth. This track even boasts a surprisingly catchy chorus. "Honest, am I ever gonna make you honest, am I ever gonna leave you breathless?"
Even this eventually bursts open by the end into another cacophony. The band is really flexing its muscles here in a way that was merely hinted on previous EPs.

'Failing to Learn' starts off with a guitar part that in previous recordings would have been confined to acoustic, but here has a lovely XX glow, dripping in reverb. And then, again, around 45 seconds in, the band crashes back in through the window for awhile, before dropping back into the chilled verses, via a bit of ivory tinkling. Death Cab For Cutie has to be a reference here, partly due to Conchur's voice, but also the enhanced production values present here. This is in no way a bad thing. The chorus of  "If we are falling in love, we are..." is a nice hint at the title, I presume.

The EP ends on a calm note with 'Carve Me Open.' More typical of their work-to-date, although still with the guitar plugged in, it is a reminder that they aren't about to go metal any time soon. Nor should they. The 'Luna' EP is proof of the potential and versatility of Silences, and that you should perhaps see them in smaller venues while you can.

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