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April 30, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Silverchair – Young Modern

I cringed when I saw the new Silverchair video.

Daniel Johns with hair on his chest? Dancing? Emitting disco-like lighting? Falsetto voice? He kind of reminded me of Justin Timberlake. So, it was with great scepticism (at 14, my room was covered with Silverchair posters, and the lyrics adorned my ceiling) I gave the new album a go.

As much I want to savage it out of loyalty to my grunge days, I really have no justification to do so.

Young Modern is apparently all about acceptance – namely the band accepting their past. It could also been seen as the emancipation from the ‘Nirvana in pyjamas’ label, proving to the fans Johns deserves those hairs on his chest. Either way, it shows they are far from their ‘Pure Massacre’ days.

Opening track ‘Young Modern Station’ is chugging, energetic, and assertive, with Johns altering accusing, spitting vocals with a computerised paranoid style. The theme: he’s back, having battled arthritis, resided in England, and now “the band is back together, allergic, and in the news”.

This album in ways picks up where 2002’s Diorama left off, with Paul Mac on keys and orchestra arrangement and conducting by Van Dyke Parks. It’s still the symphonic rock Diorama initiated, but this time round Silverchair have pretty much gone to extremes to differentiate themselves from anything else they have done – and from their earlier influences. They now fit into the ‘prog-pop’ category with their excessive arrangements, theatrical nature, and Johns osculating vocal ranges and styles.

While the first single ‘Straight Lines’ is a glam-rock styled, more vocally challenging piece, it is not the highlight of the album. That goes to the nonsensical Split Enz derivative, maniacal circus soundtrack sounding ‘If you Keep Losing Sleep’.

Young Modern is completely over the top, a little pretentious, often too intense in its instrumentation and goes off into many a tangent. Yet it’s pretty much the most impressive comeback I could imagine for someone’s idols.


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