Album Review: Silent Movie Type – Broken Horses
I first saw this band live at The Capitol Theatre in January of 2011, and was pretty impressed with what I saw. A sound that isn’t quite like anything else going on in Windsor, but built to appeal to the enthusiasts of any genre. Since then I’ve followed the band’s progress, seeing them play a few more times and looking forward to their new album. In late December, Broken Horses was finally released.
Produced and mixed by the band, this predecessor to 2011′s Last Supper Fit for a King is an alternative for anyone looking for an album that isn’t necessarily happy, but who can’t stand the thought of hearing Adele one more time.
The entire 28 minute CD is a blend of genres and a dynamic mix of instrumentals and vocals.
The first track, She Says, opens some lightly reverbed guitar and soft singing, before kicking into a wall of sound fronted by anguished vocals. Right away I was able to hear something a little bit Smashing Pumpkins, a little bit Brand New.
With Pastels, the band has pulled in a bit more of a pop-punk, emo influence. They seem to have heavily channelled Brand New in this one. Near the end of the song the listener is treated to an intimate, creepy vocal closeup that in headphones sounds like someone whispering if your ear, sending shivers down your spine. Effective, if the band’s objective was to make skin crawl, and based on the rest of the album, I’m not entirely convinced that it wasn’t.
More rock influenced, and one of the songs most likely to entice something resembling dancing, Carousels is the track where the album title is derived from. Some gorgeous tom sounds here, and an overall more prevalent drum kit with a tight sound that fits in right alongside guitar feedback adn aggressive strumming.
Brothers starts off slow and soft, with a single guitar, whispered vocals and a light tinkling. When the vocals move into something stronger, they convey unpleasant emotions and feel very direct. Even after the kick the song still feels a lot more minimal than the rest of the album, but just as impassioned.
The fifth track is the epitome of a loud and soft song, lines alternating between agonized screams and disheartened moans. Lungs is one of my favourite songs on this nine track album, perfectly embodying Silent Movie Type‘s genre-bending, atmospheric punk and song dynamics.
The contrast between the music and lyrics on TV on Mute is odd, but not surprising for this band or album. Pop-punk style drumming and guitars are fronted by distressed lines about a girl who drinks alone.
Bridesmaid is a groovy track with some of the most technical guitar work to be found on this CD. Add that to a cracking snare and vocals that start off as a spine-tingling chant and move into the signature screams and you’ve got a song that really stands out.
The first thing that is heard on Fiddler’s Tune, and that drives the entire song, are the very jazzy drums. Quite unlike the other punk beats found elsewhere on Broken Horses, they create an excellent base for a song with a massive, spacious sound, flowing guitar solos, and eerily layered vocals.
To close out the album is What We’ve Done, a soaring track that regains some of the momentum that had started building at the start of the CD. Fast, moving between loud and slightly less loud, ardent vocals, at the same time buoyant and burdened, this is the song I’d imagine to be the single of the album.
Overall, Silent Movie Type‘s Broken Horses is a fantastic album, one that can appeal to younger listeners and fans of older punk alike. I’ve had it on repeat all week, and image that it will be for some time yet.
The entire album is available for download on Silent Movie Type‘s Bandcamp Page.