The A-Sides | Silver Storms (Vagrant)

cd_a-sides.jpgIn a conscious effort to break free of the 1960s pop sounds from their debut full length Hello, Hello, The A-Sides have developed a new sound for themselves that is surprisingly as original as one can really achieve in today’s scene.





Bands that live off of pretentiousness and self-indulgence are often quoted as saying that they are looking to redefine themselves or develop an album that is introspective of their personal voices. The A-Sides are in it for all the right reasons, though, and their change of voice is not a gimmick to make them deliberately enigmatic.

In their new collection of songs proffered to an indie rock scene overrun with a vast chorus of 1960s pop influence and hackneyed lyrical phrasing, the band claims to have crafted an album that was written as a statement of themselves as individuals as much as it is an evolutionary piece for the group as a whole.

A short introductory instrumental tempts the listener in with a slow tone build of strings and leads directly into the first full length song of the album, "Always in Trouble," but the energy behind the album is most apparent in the next track "We’re the Trees" with its rapid and bouncy tempo backing repetitive vocal leads that increases during the minute-long instrumental break in the middle.

The sophistication of the band comes into full swing with "Cinematic," which begins with a sparse, heartbeat-style bass line and has a feeling of coming alive as the music builds upon itself. Frontman Jon Barthmus gives the song a sense of finality in the lyrics, "We’re counting the frames now/ we’re numbering the days now/ Days they end so suddenly now/ We know that things come down."

A languid ballad feel with slow and dreamlike, bright guitar strumming opens "Diamonds" and the song itself  is a converse of the almost fatalistic feel of "Cinematic" as Barthmus beckons "Let’s learn to keep on going/ And never grow old/ Let’s never die/ Let’s just shine, shine, shine."

The final track, "Sinking With the Ship," is really the only one of the collection that reveals a real sadness. It begins with a solid electric organ tone and quickly transfers into a church organ riff and vocal styling that could just as well have come out of a hymnal. A sense of foreboding closes the album then with the warning, "The silver storms that lie ahead/ Will soon be rattling your windows"; a sense of coming full-circle is evoked with the sounds of strings returning again from the opening track.

On the whole, Silver Storms is best as a soundtrack to a morning awakening when you’re not in a hurry to do anything, or perhaps during an introspective evening when everything’s already been done for the day. It’s one I’ll keep in my collection for the odd listen every now and again. B | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: The Stone Roses, World Party, Marcy Playground

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