The Silver Seas | High Society (Cheap Lullaby)

cd_silverseas.jpg"We’ll Go Walking" is a shiver-inducing bit of romantic reverie that’s laced with gorgeous harmonies.







Talk about economy of purpose! If that phrase were a chapter title in a "How to Make Great Records" primer, then Nashville quartet The Silver Seas would need to be featured as a fine example of the EOP aesthetic at work. High Society is their splendid debut album, although the bulk of the current lineup had a previous recording under the name The Bees. But the new platter will likely be the first exposure most listeners have to this fantastic foursome.

In just 33 minutes, The Silver Seas serve up more catchy melodies, infectious rhythms and lush harmonies than some bands manage in their entire discography. Lead singer/songwriter Daniel Tashian states in the press release for this record that he was influenced by sitcom theme songs of the ’70s. If that implies a facile approach to songwriting, however, let’s correct such a misperception pronto: What Tashian and keyboardist/arranger/producer Jason Lehning have crafted on High Society is a set of lively tunes that evoke the best AM radio memories you recall from pop’s golden age, while delivering a fresh, ear-pleasing sound that puts a high premium on musical conciseness.

A great example is "She Is Gone," an immaculate piece of songwriting and arranging smarts. Drummer David Gehrke lays down a flawless rhythm track in perfect tandem with single piano chords played one measure at a time, while subtle acoustic guitars stay in the background. Then Tashian’s vocal comes in, all gentle melancholy and wistful detachment; the result is a sparkling pop gem. There are so many ways to muck up a simple song like this, it’s astonishing the restraint the band shows.

And they do it over and over again (special kudos to Lehning’s production style). "We’ll Go Walking" is a shiver-inducing bit of romantic reverie that’s laced with gorgeous harmonies. "Now as the summer starts to fade/ into the gold of autumn shade/ beneath an umbrella with you/ there’s nothing I would rather do/ than go walking," sings Tashian over the kind of rhythm you can sway to, and the kind of background vocals you fall in love to. Note to mix tapers everywhere: you wanna charm your would-be significant other to the max, include this peerless tune on your next personalized collection.

"The Broadway Lights" is another winner, one of several songs you could imagine gracing a memorable moment in your favorite TV drama or indie film. Tashian’s voice here takes on a Jeff Tweedy-like warmth that is positively beguiling; elsewhere, his vocal timbre evokes a more melodic Jackson Browne. The four band members always seem to be on the same page creatively, and it’s remarkable that they can pack so much melodicism and pop smarts into short tunes like "Imaginary Girl" and "Hard Luck Tom"—the latter not even cracking the two-minute mark.

Breezy, bright and musically buoyant, Rhe Silver Seas’ debut is simply a delight from start to finish. The good ship "Jolly Pop" couldn’t be in better hands… A | Kevin Renick

RIYL: The Beach Boys, Wilco’s pop-oriented stuff, feelin’ groovy

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