The band Silverbird has become a popular fixture on the NYC Club scene. They are following the release of their 2014 EP Surface Life with the debut LP Pureland available September 18th. Their music inhabits a fearless emotional landscape and presents a young band with potential raw talent cubed. On Pureland the band provides hook laden melodies and swirling intricate rhythms that enchant the listener. The album only gets more enthralling with each pass.
Silverbird hails from the Brooklyn Borough of NYC and was founded in 2013 by frontman and songwriter Tim Barr. Barr has performed as Lana Del Ray’s guitarist and been involved in the NYC Jazz Club Scene playing with Dizzy Gillespie protégé and pianist Mike Longo. Barr armed with demos and basement jams attracted the attention of English producer Kristopher Harris, (Smoking Fairies, Storybooks, Mathew and the Atlas), and they formed a working partnership. From this partnership Barr backed into the formation of Silverbird. He recruited fellow band members; Corey Davis on bass, Dan Whaley on guitar and Jacob Straub on drums. The sum of the members’ pooled talents proved to be even greater than the parts.
They together created a synergy that is ebullient, vibrant and dynamic. Silverbird released Surface Life in the spring of 2014 and earned critical acclaim with the single Hollow Heart. The band has been featured in various publications; USA Today, Nylon and CMJ, and gaining a following as they pack them in at NYC club gigs. Silverbird has been tagged with the moniker of “Band to Watch” by many in the music industry; it is only natural that the next progression is a full album release. The band derives their sound from a wide range of influences culling from Wilco, Heartless Bastards, Jeff Buckley, Violent Femmes and Sparklehorse to name a few. They display musically impeccable taste as they pick and choose among various genres and decades of rock music. The band possesses a singular ability to weave those sounds into their own unique creations. Listeners will find R&B, Dream Pop, Post Psychedelic and Indie Rock amid the palette of sounds utilized on the release.
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Pureland was recorded completely in live takes in the studio which proved both amazing and nerve wracking. The inspiration for the debut came from Barr leaving his day job, breaking up with his girlfriend and heading to a monastery. Barr in describing his retreat to the monastery states,” I was there about a weekend and I just started shitting out songs.” Upon Barr’s return the band added their input to the songs reflecting the stylish diversity of the entire band; while trying to avoid the egocentric urges that can make for conflict and kill creativity.
The pensive pop quartet kicks off the album with Running which is pop poetry with a bounce. It has a heady energy and is reminiscent of the Violent Femmes with it’s off kilter observations about life and love. “Your pale skin pulls me into a blizzard of oblivion.” The pop goodness of the song sticks with you like chewing gum stuck to your shoe. The engaging track Brooklyn has a trippy swirling feel with lovely Jeff Buckley guitar riffs and echoes of The Cure and early circa “Pablo Honey” Radiohead. The song builds and builds to an amazing finish with Barr’s evocative falsetto delivering the goods.
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Mountain switches genre into a dream pop ballad, with stark and evocative sounds. It is a heartfelt yearning song for someone or something just out of reach. “Everybody’s making the same moves searching for the Holy Grail.” The song Seventeen has an oscillating tempo that makes for an arresting track. The Wilco influenced song is hook laden and draws the listener into the emotion of the song, of special note is the beautiful keyboard treatment.
Sky is a highlight of the album and one of my favorites. It is a spirally lyrical song about the sunlit moments of spending time doing little of importance with friends. It is hypnotic with great reverb guitars that build into this expansive sound reflecting the title. Sky is both triumphant and introspective. Emptyness has an early 90’s indie sound with a great drum intro. The title reflects appropriately the dreamy atmospheric sound of the track, it is earnest and straightforward. The song concludes as if waking from a dream with a cacophony of sound. Lyfe picks up the tempo as it reveals a full on indie rock song. It is an energy filled radio friendly track displaying a great amalgam of the band’s members’ musical abilities. Again it is filled with off kilter popiness. “I want to hold your hand and watch the world end.” The song checks all the boxes to make for a great single.
Sunshine presents a textured and intricate song. There is an interweaving of shoegaze, Blues, Roots rock and Indie with shimmering guitars. It is a song that shapeshifts from driving guitar riffs to a crunching chorus. Sunshine addresses how happy another person can make you by just allowing you to be around them as you bask in their beauty. It is a stunning song; the last 1/3 is especially noteworthy. Silverbird saves a spectacular genre jump for last as the song 45 is a jaw dropping “Do Not Miss” selection. The band puts together a great Indie Blues creation, channeling Jack White and the Black Keys. The gritty guitar and great groove follow a classic blues structure. “I feel the need to drink to your death… you can smell the evil coming off my breath.” It is an exceptional display of the band’s depth musically.
Silverbird delivers a promising debut album. Their sound makes it easy to find something to like as they show skilled musicianship and songwriting abilities. The band has been haunting the East Village packing the clubs and after a listen it is easy to see why. They certainly earn the label of a “Band to Watch”. Pureland is a stellar debut and definitely creates anticipation for the band’s future output.
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