Well, I have no excuses for the latest hiatus, apart from intrusive reality, but ‘Spillin’ The Beans is back again and this week I am exploring the debut album by Silver Liz, “I Can Feel The Weight“. The album was released at the end of Octoberand is available via Bandcamp.
According to the Bandcamp blurb “All songs written by Carrie and Matt Wagner. These songs were recorded between October 2015 – July 2017 in Carrie and Matt’s apartment in Chicago, Mark Hunsberger’s house in Harrisburg, PA, Chicago Music Garage, and the balcony of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Chicago.“
The band are;
Carrie Wagner – Vocals
Matt Wagner – Guitars, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming, vocals
Mark Hunsberger – Drums on tracks 3, 5, 7, and 9
Drew Flippin – Drums on track 2
PD Young – Drum engineering on track 2
So, having got the factual stuff out of the way, what about the sounds?
Well, the first impressions are all about electronica and soundscapes but soon it becomes clear that Silver Liz are about a lot more than that. The term “dream pop” seems like a decent enough starting point, there are shimmering guitars, hazy phased-sounding cymbals and layers of treated vocals. This is psychedelia, but psychedelia given an electronic makeover, an entirely modern sound, nothing retro here, well not at first. There are emotional highs and lows in the music, which gradually moves away from the fuzzy happiness into a darker, more turbulent vibe, which I first detect on the track Hazy Daisy, where discordancy breaks through the layers, giving an unsettling feel to the music. Clever stuff, I think. It reminds me of My Bloody Valentine, which has to be a big tick in the box. The following track, Float, continues in this darker, shoegaze vein, with Carrie’s ethereal vocals backed up by a riff-heavy, guitar track that evokes grunge, but also 60s Flower Power.
What else do I hear? Well, echoes of 60s girl groups, for a start, but girl groups who were hanging out with the kind of bands who ended up on the Nuggets anthologies. Underneath the layered sound and the phasing and flanged guitar there is also power pop, to be honest, this is music that hits a lot of my musical buttons. The closing track, Visitor, is a real storming, epic finish to the album, with the track descending into feedback, crashing discordant guitar chords and the kind of noise you expect from a Sonic Youth track. Terrific stuff.
I think that there is definitely a place and an audience for this music. particularly as I think that shoegaze is long overdue a revival, especially as both Ride and Slowdive have released new albums in 2017, so the alignment of the planets is clearly right.