CD REVIEW: The Silent Film - "The Silent Film EP"
By Lennon Bone - 12/01/2005 - 06:14 PM EST
Artist: The Silent Film
Album: "The Silent Film EP"
Artist: The Silent Film (www.myspace.com/thesilentfilm)
Album: The Silent Film EP
Rating Key: 0 - 19% (It hurt to listen) 20 - 29% (Awful) 30 - 39% (Bad) 40 - 49% (Almost average) 50 - 59% (Average) 60 - 69% (Good, but has problems) 70 - 79% (A good record) 80 - 89% (You must check it out!) 90 - 95% (Best I’ve heard in a long time!) 95 - 100% (Incredible! Nothing like it!)
Like many of the indie bands that seem to be popping up now days, The Silent Film was formed as a past time recording project between front man Jakob Lewis and Portuguese native/Greenville College chum Andre Anjos. After recording the EP, the two decided to up the anty and take the act on the road with the help of drummer Kyle Dainsberg, and bassist Nick Birmingham. On Jakob’s website he lists a few of his influences - which include DavidCrowderBand, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, and Caedmon’s Call. With that list, he readily admits taking some of his ideas from the artists that he follows. “Good artists borrow, great artists steal” Jakob states. Well - despite Jakobs sinful nature when it comes to songwriting, the group as a whole has managed to come across their own sound original enough to prevent any of them from bending their musical halo’s.
The Silent Film’s EP weaves in and out of songs singing of love, life, and faith. In my past experiences when you throw faith into the mix and sell yourself as a Christian act, there is always the looming cheese factor that can come into play. The Silent Film manages to bypass that area in their EP, and instead come forth with an offering that someone with any background can swallow pretty easily.
My favorite tune on the EP “Lakeshore Drive” (which can be heard on their myspace page) comes in and out of halftime vamps, slow moving lyrics and pick me up pop grooves without ever allowing me to lose my focus. “Wind right through me like a breath / pursuing me / calling me back / our feet raced over dusty trails / as we ran further from the times we have failed / the sun brought a freedom that I had forgotten / as I come home to a family I’ve been watching run through all my dreams / now I’m back home and I’m at peace.” Although a bit lengthy for a pop tune, the guys were able to build in enough lyrical and musical hooks to take you all the way to the breaking point, and then reel you back in the moment before you lose interest.
My second favorite track has to be the electronic version of “Wife”. It hugs close to all the above mentioned influences, but brings forth other characteristics comparable to those of Radiohead and the Postal Service - utilizing manipulated sounds and record scratches giving the song ambience, and a bit more musical substance.
The entire record actually has quite a few ambient moments. It seems the SF boys aren’t afraid of slapping on the delay, or doubling up some vocals. It’s easy to see that they’ve put some time into this record - sticking all kinds of hidden surprises in the nooks and cranny’s of the music. Some of these little gems include what I’ve found to be home made percussion instruments, and even a reversed vocal of Jakob asking Andy to pass the soap - followed by Andy’s Portuguese reply, which to me still comes across as being reversed. My Portuguese is still a bit rusty.
Jakob Lewis and the Silent Film write from their experiences without fear of putting their feelings out there for people to listen to. That’s an important trait when you’re writing faith based music. Like any genre, the Christian music scene has thrown itself into the cookie cutter scenario. You can’t write about what you feel unless you’re able to mention Jesus in the song 5-12 times, the song must be in the key of E or G, and either be acoustic driven or have a Coldplay feel to it. Minus those guidelines, it’s still apparent to me that God is in the Silent Films music without beating someone over the head with their beliefs, and without being shy about what it is they believe in. The Silent Film EP puts forth a good group of songs allowing the listener to take the music to their own heart, their own way.
You can check out the Silent Films music online @ www.myspace.com/thesilentfilm
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