The Silent Years – “Let Go EP”

If Sufjan Stevens and Akron/Family teamed up on an album of ultimately upbeat idiosyncratic pop music, you’d probably come up with something at least slightly resembling what The Silent Years offer on their EP, Let Go. Yet at the same time it would be impossible to fully duplicate what this band has to offer. To fully appreciate this mini album, one really does have to let go of any sense of genre expectation. Once that’s accomplished, it’s possible to give the EP the headphone treatment, wherein one earns the rewards of patience and willingness to experiment. The Silent Years aren’t going to please everyone, but discerning pop fans who bemoan the lack of creativity in the genre are going to really really enjoy this band.

The quirk factor, of course, is turned up to eleven, and the six-song cycle takes repeated listens to really dig itself into your brain’s core. But the arrangements are well developed and intensely chaotic, allowing the music to reveal itself more fully the more you pay attention. “Vampires Bite The Hands That Feed Them” is a heady brew of frantic percussion, a slew of guitars, bass, keyboards and Josh Epstein’s smooth vocals. And the album’s opener “Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park” has great hooks from the start, including an addictive, elemental sing-along chorus. Pop radio isn’t going to play this, but they don’t play anything good in the first place, so why not make an inexpensive online investment and find something invigorating and original to call your own? The first two songs only set the scene; the rest of the Let Go is equally inventive and exciting to behold.

The band’s website mentions a new album being crafted as we speak, so this EP serves as the perfect holdover between their album from 2008 (The Globe) and what’s to come in the band’s future. Six songs is hardly enough to make a detailed and complete judgment of a band’s abilities, but if this is what The Silent Years have to offer, their album should be on the wish list of everyone who calls him or herself an alt-pop fan. Let Go is definitely worthy of repeated listening and excited declarations throughout the blogosphere.

Reprinted with permission from Stereo Subversion.

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