The Last Mixed Tape reviews Fad, the debut studio album from Dublin band Silverbacks.
Fad is an album made out of conviction and delivered with a snarl. A brutalist-punk offering, there’s no misplaced aggression, no meandering angst, no affectations of punk stereotypes. Instead, the album is stark, pointed and uses a minimalist scope to convey the post-modernist prism of the music.
“Every punk trick in the book” is a mantra delivered with a detached wryness in album opener ‘Dunkirk’, communicating the group’s willingness to remove punk from the trappings of its own self-constructed cliches and set against a music that sounds vital, as the jolting almost manic feel of the song establishes the angular, deconstructive sound of Fad as a whole.
What’s most striking about Fad is how Silverbacks use their core sound to create mood and dynamism throughout the record. The music is taut with a nihilistic tension. Guitars clash and drums rumble beneath ridged vocals, this a record with sharp-edges. In songs like the bristling ‘Pink Tide’, growling ‘Grinning At The Lid’ and the melodically twisting ‘Up The Nurses’, Silverbacks creates shapes and corners to their music and to Fad overall, while tracks like ‘Travel Lodge Punk’ and ‘Dud’ create brief abstracted interludes that add to the background noise of the album.
However, it’s ‘Muted Gold’ where these elements merge most clearly. Surrounded in frenetic guitar lines that entangle throughout, the undercurrent of atmosphere of Fad melds with the dynamic tension of the record’s foreground resulting in track that brings to the light the deep sonic contrast of the album amid serene and manic vocals that drift in and out of focus.
And so it goes, with Fad Silverbacks look to rip it up and start again. And in many ways they do just that, the grounded Brutalist design of the music makes for an imposing monochromatic, stark geometric shape to the album for Silverbacks to play within and at times tear down at will. All which results in a record never seems to feel at rest, and doesn’t want you to feel that way either.
Fad by Silverbacks is out now.