Silverbacks: Archive Material – Actuely observant tunesmithery

Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 05:00


Archive Material


Full Time Hobby


Let’s hear it for the parents for a change, and in the case of Silverbacks’ brothers, Daniel and Kilian O’Kelly, let’s hear it for their father’s lending library of a record collection. “The rule in the house was [you could borrow] just one CD at a time,” Daniel explains in Archive Material’s accompanying press release. “You’d check it out for a night and then the next day he’d be immediately chasing up on the CD asking, ‘Where is it?’ And then he’d fine us.” Through such discretionary discipline were music tastes formed.

Listening to Silverbacks’ second album it’s clear enough that CDs by Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Pavement and, in particular, Television were never returned to O’Kelly snr’s library. Songs such as Nothing to Write Home About, They Were Never Our People, Central Tones, Recycle Culture, Econymo and the title track feature spidery, jittery guitar lines and dissonant vocals. In lesser hands this could be mere sonic hagiography but Silverbacks instead tip the hat here and deliver a knowing wink there.

Besides the rather obvious but no less effective influences, there are some very smart sidesteps, notably Carshade (a bucolic instrumental that echoes British composers such as Vaughan Williams and Harrison Birtwistle) and I’m Wild (a relatively gentle song featuring folksy vocals by bass player, Emma Hanlon). The upshot is an acutely observant pandemic-oriented album with heightened levels of tunesmithery. Thanks, dad.