I always maintain that the job of a single is to advertise a forthcoming album. It’s an old-school notion I know, especially in this age where today’s artists seem to feel the need to spew forth every and any sonic endeavour as soon as the paint is dry. But if I am right and singles are the tasters and teasers for full-length platter to follow then We Mattered (Once Upon A Time) and particularly Girlfriend should be looking at a fairly hefty Christmas bonus. Never has a brace of singles made me anticipate the arrival of an album so keenly. Well, not for a long time anyway.
But the danger also with such a tactic is that said singles could also be part of a front-loaded PR campaign, that once you get beyond their obvious charms what follows as rewarding, that they have shot their sonic load too early. I’m here to report that in the case of The Silverbeets’ Halcyon Days, nothing could be further from the truth and in fact the buoyant jangle of We Mattered coupled with the dark groove and inherent humour of Girlfriend only begins to describe the ground that the band covers musically.
Cool, Like David Suzuki is a cool (natch!) and clattering slice of frenzied alt-pop, Unnatural Selection is a stomping, stamping, sweary, rant and One Melody rounds the album off on a euphoric and meandering high, all swirling guitars and 60’s grooves. The more considered side of the band is demonstrated by songs like You Still Look So Beautiful and Never Trust The Government, the former an intimate and delicate love song, the latter a strange slice of pastel-hued, skewed and skittering, anarcho-pop…is that still a thing? Let’s assume it is. (Note to self:find out whatever happened to Chumbawamba.)
If this album proves anything, not that albums have to, it is that The Silverbeets are able to maintain their high sonic standards across the full length of an album. And that, after all, is what you always hope a band are able to do. In fact I would even suggest that rather than bother to echo the two singles that they sent out to test the water, the band proceed to head off along numerous different musical tangents. Why keep rewriting the same sort of single when there are so many more musical paths to explore? Why indeed? And that is The Silverbeets in a nutshell.