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Silverland - Swimming Upstream

  by John Clarkson

published: 16 / 1 / 2005



Silverland - Swimming Upstream
Label: Amazon Records
Format: CD

intro

Well-crafted and epic and thoughtful rock on debut album from new London-based act, Silverland


When a musician dies young, the tragic prematurity of that death may often eclipse what was only a very mediocre talent. It is uncertain how strong a songwriter the London-based musician William Brown might have become if he had lived. The fledgling songwriter died suddenly in his early 20's at a music lesson, never having had the opportunity to record anything in his short lifetime, his live appearances largely being restricted to open mic gigs in Camden. His songwriting partner, Hadas Trainin, has now taken four of his songs, and reworked them for release on 'Swimming Upstream', the debut album by her new band, Silverland. On the evidence of 'Swimming Upstream', Brown was an astute talent with a keen lyrical eye for detail. Brown's contributions, however, form part of seamless package, and the other songwriting elements that constitute Silverland, Trainin with her new musical writing partner Edward Payne, and vocalist Sam Jones on his own, however, have a similar dynamism. Silverland, as well as Jones and and Trainin (guitars, keyboards, percussion, programming), also features Dorit Braha (bass) and Ami Rothenberg (drums and backing vocals), and first formed in 2002. They come from the epic, thoughtful school of rock. U2 and Radiohead are obvious influences, but with a lilting use of acoustic instruments, sudden crescendoes of grinding, churning guitars and Jones' throatily gusty vocals, Silverland, however, carry much originality of their own also. The six minute Trainin/Payne number, 'Running on Empty', begins with light jazz funk rhythms before surging and swelling up to develop a broodingly swaggering sound and finds a hurt and confused Jones in agony after being suddenly dumped ("I hope I can forgive you/Coz hearts can break with just one look/But what you did was so cruel/'It meant nothing' is worse, lies just make it heart"). On his own composition, the guttural, abrasive 'Get Out', Jones, however, is the one who is in contrast savagely doing the leaving ("There's no place in my heart/Cause I'm having a brand new start/I don't like you love you want you need you/I can't see you breathe you want to hear you/I don't want you here cause I don't need you"). The Brown-penned bittersweet piano ballad, 'Undriven', chronicles the enraptured, entrapped intoxication of a romance that is showing the first signs of uneasily beginning to falter ("Seems like it's dark inside of this cell/I've built for myself/It's a cell built of of you/You're the bars you're the view"). His sultry, caustic 'Long Dry Day' meanwhile balances rollercoating guitarwork from Trainin and terse instrumentation from the rest of the band with images of the city in the stifling hear of summertime and a tale of all-in-the-head lust ("Let's go and sleep together/And talk about the weather/Well what's your name ?/I guess it's June, June, June/It's been along dry day/And the sun is fading fast, the stars are getting ready/It's been a long drey day/in June in June in June"). Recorded and produced by Braha and Trainin in their own home studio, tiny budgeting prevents 'Swimming Upstream' from having the final veneer of polish to be an instant classic. It nevertheless makes a fine, powerful debut. Avoiding the danger of becoming simply a wake to dead, 'Swimming Upstream' is completely life-confirming.



Track Listing:-
1 Been There
2 Choke
3 Atlantis
4 Undriven
5 Running On Empty
6 Missing
7 For You
8 Whenever
9 April Mourning
10 Long Dry Day
11 Get Out



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interviews


Interview (2005)
Silverland - Interview
London indie guitar band Silverland have just released their debut album, 'the epic-sounding Swimming Upstream.' Frontman Sam Jones talks to John Clarkson about the band's first two years and its making


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