The Silver Seas: Chateau Revenge


RIYL: Jackson Browne, Josh Rouse, The Gabe Dixon Band

What do you do when a band you love does the unthinkable? In the case of Nashville’s The Silver Seas, the unthinkable is one-upping their five-star worthy debut, High Society, and causing us to scratch our heads and wonder: do we give them six stars? Five and a half? We’ll have to settle on five and have you use your imagination beyond that. The point is, Daniel Tashian and company has returned with Chateau Revenge, and it’s once again a collection of songs that makes everything else you might be listening to at the moment seem like background noise. Tashian has a way with a hook, but he goes beyond crafting great songs with the help of the other Silver Seas – Jason Lehning, Lex Price and Dave Gehrke – to arrange them in a way that allows said songs to breathe. The result is a noticeable ‘70s bent complete with Tashian’s Jackson Browne-ish tenor and big harmony-drenched choruses. Two of the tracks in particular, “What’s the Drawback” and “The Best Things in Life,” are instant hits if they are released in 1976. In fact, on the former, Tashian sings about a woman who “likes the E.L.O.,” and the lyric is followed by strings reminiscent of the ‘70s icons. But that’s not to say The Silver Seas are hopelessly stuck in a time warp. “Jane” is a breezy, melodic, Josh Rouse-like toe-tapper, while “From My Windowsill” and “What If It Isn’t Out There” have a jazzy flavor. “Somebody Said Your Name” is a Jackson Browne-esque romp, and on “Those Streets,” the way the guitars and bass line marry is pure magic. Come to think of it, just about everything The Silver Seas do is magical, and the latest proof is that they have surpassed the brilliance of High Society with Chateau Revenge. (Self-release)

The Silver Seas MySpace Page

  

The Echo Falls: The Echo Falls

The Echo Falls is a lesson in simplicity – the debut album from this San Francisco based trio features three guys (including front man and songwriter Alex Mandel) who will remind you of both ‘70s pop (think Loggins & Messina or Seals & Crofts) and current lo-fi hipsters (think Death Cab for Cutie). Delivering songs using only an acoustic guitar, upright bass and sparse drums and percussion will do that, but the tracks themselves have an endearing vibe that is a refreshing counterpoint to what passes for adult album alternative these days. Mandel waffles between tenor and falsetto and does it with ease, and the songs range from the triumphant kickoff “Road to Parnassus” to the (you have to hear this to believe it) They Might Be Giants-meets-Suzanne Vega quirky vibe of “Watchtower.” There’s other elements at work here too; breezy college rock (“Every Second Thought” and “You Have it All”) and ‘70s folk (“Fall Asleep in the Sand”). But the best track of all is “Love Over Time,” which could be the best guitar song Ben Folds never wrote. There’s enough to please many folks on this debut – it’s not like you can vary things a whole lot with sparse production, but the Echo Falls do a pretty decent job of it. (The Echo Falls 2009)

The Echo Falls MySpace Page

  

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