Album Review: Silverstein - 'Short Songs'

17 February 2012 | 11:35 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Rick Wakeman eat your heart out...

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The title says it all, clocking in at twenty minutes as a whole and with the shortest song running for five seconds, Silverstein have released an album of, as promised, very short songs. The Canadian band's sixth record is split into two halves, the first features eleven original, short punk rock songs, followed by a series of cover songs from a range of classic punk bands that have had an effect on the group.

The band are in fine form, especially vocalist Shane Told who shows off his impressive vocal range in the small bursts his is allowed on the record. From a smooth clean sound to the grittiest, most aggressive performances he has ever laid to tape, Told drives the songs and is one of the album's main dynamics.

Interestingly enough the band do a better job at the covers than the originals. This is not to say that the originals are bad, in fact when you compare them to the music the group is known for, they have successfully created some fun punk/hardcore jams and recorded them well.

The covers however, are the highlight. With a selection ranging from Dead Kennedys to NOFX, some will have you throwing fists, like the cover of Coffee Mug, originally by Descendents, and some will even draw a small chuckle, like the album closer You Gotta Stay Positive by Good Clean Fun. The Dead Kennedy's cover Short Songs also features guest vocals from a range of singers including Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Chris #2 of Anti-Flag, Chris Hannah of Propagandhi and Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. It's not all fast, abrasive punk as one of the record's softest and most beautiful moments comes in the form of a Promise Ring cover, Scenes From Parisian Life.

The interesting thing about the original songs is that you can see how the bands that were selected for the covers section have influenced the group. This seems like it was more of a fun project for the members of Silverstein who bring across a relaxed and enjoyable vibe in the original tracks, which is something that has been lacking on their last few releases.

'Short Songs' is a somewhat unexpected release from Silverstein which may be what makes it so good. The fact that it is so short however is a bit of a negative as there are plenty of moments on this record that you will wish stayed around for a little bit longer, but that would be beside the point and may even take away from why this little gem is cool.

1. Sick As Your Secrets
2. Sin & Redemption
3. SOS
4. Brookfield
5. La Marseillaise
6. World On Fire
7. Sleep Around
8. My Miserable Life
9. Truth & Temptation
10. One Last Dance
11. See Ya Bill
12. Short Songs (originally by Dead Kennedys)
13. 236 E. Broadway (originally by Gob)
14. Good Intentions (originally by Gorilla Biscuits)
15. Destination: Blood! (originally by Orchid)
16. Coffee Mug (originally by Descendents)
17. xOn Our Kneesx (originally by The Swarm)
18. Scenes From Parisian Life (originally by The Promise Ring)
19. It’s My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite (originally by NOFX)
20. Quit Your Job (originally by Chixdiggit)
21. The Ballad of Wilhelm Fink (originally by Green Day)
22. You Gotta Stay Positive (originally by Good Clean Fun)