If you’ve ever been at your wits end, searching for sandwich ingredients for tomorrow’s bagged lunch, then you’re familiar with the philosophy of “good enough.” You would prefer more than just cheese and butter between those buns, but if the crisper lacks fresh greens and rosy tomatoes, and the clock reads too late for a trip to the supermarket for deli meats, then some simple cheddar must suffice. Next day, the food serves its mechanical role of nourishment, but choking down dry bread reminds you to alter your root home to avoid a repeat.
The same applies to music. I’ve recently found myself spinning melodic screamo veterans Silverstein’s Hopeless Records debut, Rescue, simply because it’s “good enough” for the moment. If I had something better in my car I’d make the switch in a heartbeat, but as it turns out, their harmless blend of crisp and hardcore vocals serve better than the alternative of silence or local radio. The group’s fifth formal full length is a little lighter than I recall from when I last checked up on the quintet with Arrivals And Departures (I skipped Shipwrecked I The Sand), and serves the role of background music adequately – just don’t expect any standout hooks.
My deciding factor to keep the disc playing resides in Rescue‘s tempo. While Shane Todd’s watered down bellows have always been a damper, and his nasally-pop-punk persona sounds generic, drummer Paul Koehler speeds along on tracks like “Medication,” lightening the mood like a good old punk act circa Pulley. But for every easygoing segment the band quickly reverts to their standard screamo output and repetitious snarly breakdowns of dime-a-dozen acts like Chiodos. Not surprisingly, the songs that focus on melodic output like “Forget Your Heart” or “In Memory Of…” hold my attention far easier. That being said, the strongest elements of musicianship emerge during the bellowing segments of tracks like “Intervention” during their aggressive guitar and technical aspects. Here the band demonstrates their underlying musicianship. Unfortunately they only surface when Todd bares his teeth, whereas the band misses opportunities to strengthen their melodic segments as per far more invigorating acts likeHeartsounds.
Curiously Bayside’s Ben Murray makes an appearance mid-way through the album on “Texas Mickey.” While cameos are always a plus for any artist, it spells trouble when they upstage the main event. The occurrence only serves to highlight through contrast just how generic Silverstein sounds as a whole.
If you splurge and pick up a physical copy you’ll find yourself with a host of additional bonus material. While the token demos won’t do much more than occupy a completist’s library, the acoustic tracks prove that under all those layers of ho-hum hardcore-lite-meets-watered-down-pop-punk there’s a crew that loves what they do. “Burning Hearts” and “Replace You” translate remarkably well to a stripped down environment, and Todd sounds astonishingly sincere. Still, these are but two tracks on a roster of eighteen, and only those that wade through the initial forty-minute rollercoaster will find themselves privy toSilverstein’s strongest moments.
If you’ve been following Silverstein since their Victory Records days, then Rescue shouldn’t be a big shock. True, the band has tightened up their musicianship over the years, but they haven’t changed their screamo-lite elements. You probably already know if this stuff drives you crazy, but Rescue is unlikely to be more than a case of “good enough” for everyone else.