The Silence Kit
A Philadelphia-based post-punk band that plays dark indie rock, The Silence Kit is inspired in equal parts by post punk, shoegaze, neo-psychedelia, and avant-garde, the band was started by singer/guitarist Patrick McCay back in 2001. After playing countless shows, and recording 4 LPs, 2 EPs and various singles from 2006-2014, the band's fifth LP "Fall Protection" was released on October 26, 2018 and was an exclusive feature at Big Takeover.
"The Silence Kit have been creating some of the best 80's influenced alt rock in Philly since they began in 2002." - WXPN
Critics have hailed "Fall Protection" as "magnificent and breathtaking," with "complex, layered jangly guitars, moody psychedelic synths, thunderous percussion and raw, passionate vocals," and have called it "ripe with introspection and angst, not to mention sheer bewilderment, Fall Protection morphs a platter of diverse genres... recalling the spirit of ’80s-era post-punk filtered through the dreamy textures and swirling, layered guitars of ’90s shoegaze and indie rock." Scroll down for full reviews and more press.
The Silence Kit is currently completing their sixth LP, with a projected release date of 2023.
Press & Reviews:
Fall Protection Exclusive Album Premiere
The Silence Kit is a Philadelphia-based post-punk band who have proven themselves to be full of surprises through the years, and their latest 11-song album Fall Protection finds them at the peak of their powers.
The band was started by singer/guitarist Patrick McCay in 2002, who was eventually joined by Darren O’Toole (drums) and Justin Dushkewich (bass). Recently augmented by James Gross (guitar) and Bryan Streitfeld (synth on track #2), the band has been playing east coast shows as a five-piece for the past year.
Included on tribute compilations to The Cure and The Sound released by The Blog That Celebrates Itself, and following a series of successful singles, the band’s fifth LP, Fall Protection recalls the spirit of ’80s-era post-punk filtered through the dreamy textures and swirling, layered guitars of ’90s shoegaze and indie rock.
The album grabs hold right from the start with “Supermarket.” Anchored by a solid backbeat and a driving riff, the song’s depth of textures, incendiary guitars, and melodic vocals make for a gripping opener.
“This Time” is perhaps the band’s signature post-punk song. With its locked in groove, echoing, dual guitars and atmospheric synths pushing the song ever closer to the edge, the band channels the emotional weight of bands like The Sound and The Chameleons while McCay’s vocals steadily unwind and the song builds into its apex of sound and raw emotion.
“Everything You Feel Good About” shines with a prominent bass line and rapid snare rolls. Hushed, confessional vocals rest atop a bed of synths, with guitars used as punctuation and ultimately providing liftoff near the darker end.
The piano-led “Wound,” with its darkwave mood and plaintive lyrics deftly surprises as two-thirds of the way through, the song bursts wide open and a guitar assault ensues with McCay’s voice growing into an anguished howl at the song’s crescendo.
“Worry” starts tightly wound and claustrophobic, then envelopes with a breath of airy psychedelia and a swirl of spidery guitars. Elsewhere, the band wears its new wave heart on its sleeve with “Never Say Goodbye,” welding John Hughes soundtrack-like synths to layers of shimmering, bent guitars and charismatic vocals.
The penultimate song on the album, “Tablecloth” starts with a jagged beat, and is buoyed by a weaving, frenetic bassline that keeps the song moving with a fiery energy, as the guitar interplay and psychedelic-tinged bridge all build to the album’s boiling point.
With final song “Discard,” the band provides a fitting denouement to the album. Heavy with reverb, rolling toms, and layers of guitars and synths, the song takes the listener on one final journey as the closing vocal finally accepts the inevitable – “I’ll take the fall” is sung again and again and leads into the ether…
Fall Protection can be purchased starting today on Bandcamp and it’s a bracing, inspiring listen. The Big Takeover is super-excited to share the exclusive world premiere of Fall Protection here.
The Silence Kit "Fall Protection" review
This Philadelphia post punk band has been pummeling our ears since 2006, and this latest album is no exception. Vocalist Pat McCay sounds a bit like Greg Sage at times, and I swear the band is channeling Adrian Borland at his darkest moments. Yet there are moments of pure beauty when the light bursts through, such as the almost cheery sounding “New Year’s Eve”. Everyone will hear something different, though I doubt anyone will miss Joy Division as an influence. I also appreciate the thoughtful lyrics on this song, they sound almost wistful.
“This Time” is mesmerizing and glum, and this is where the guitar work reminded me of The Sound. The plain-spoken lyrics are eerie and the guitar trips underneath like a dark current. “Can We Skip This?” is lush by comparison, and there’s an uptick in positive energy. “Everything You Feel Good About” is grand and throws down a bit of New Order panache, especially in that familiar bass line. Is Peter Hook on board? It definitely has single potential!
“Wound” meanders down a dark wave path and I love the repeating piano line that darts in and out of the mix. “Worry” hovers on the edges of psych with its watery guitar lines flowing like silver liquid. It reminds me a bit of the times when Robert Smith flirted with spacey textures. Pretty stuff!
“Never Say Goodbye” is a swell, synth pop tune, sounding quite unlike the band’s other tunes here. “How Does it Feel”? has a stately, dark structure, and guitars barely restrain their rage as misery pours down on the listener. I love the hard charging cadence here, a marked difference to the somewhat lighter fare earlier on. “Discard” is the filigreed coda, an almost warm and fizzy slice of dream pop that hints at future directions for this talented group. Nice work all around, and recommended from this picky scribe.
The Silence Kit "Fall Protection" review
The Silence Kit is a Philadelphia-based band that plays dark indie alternative rock inspired in equal parts by post punk, shoegaze, neo-psychedelia, goth rock and avant-garde. Formed in 2002 by singer/guitarist Patrick McCay, the current lineup also includes Justin Dushkewich on bass, Darren O’Toole on drums & percussion, James Gross on guitar, and Bryan Streitfeld on synths. The band has released a number of albums, EPs and singles over the years, and in late October, they dropped their fifth album Fall Protection, which follows their acclaimed 2014 album Watershed.
Their music has been compared to bands like The Cure, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Nick Cave, and Television, but they’ve forged their own signature sound over the years, and Fall Protection sees the band continuing to grow and evolve, fusing together the atmosphere and intensity of early 80s post-punk and goth rock with the spirit of early 90s grunge and indie rock. In the recording of the album, the band had assistance from guest musician Kristin Kita, who played guitar on tracks #1, 7, 9, 10 and synths on #3, 5, 6, 8. The album was recorded and mixed by band front man Patrick McCay and mastered by Dave Downham.
“Supermarket” kicks off the album with dark, almost psychedelic synths and grungy guitars propelled by a strutting bass line and infectiously melodic drumbeat. McCay’s vocals are wonderful, with a vulnerable urgency as he croons “In the glow of the supermarket. I wanna feel like I’m in my own dream…again. I miss the kiss of your first attraction. I want to be in deep and sleepless love…again. Time and time again, I will find you. / Lucky me, you found me too.” “New Year’s Eve” speaks to the random nature of our lives year in and year out: “There’s no such thing as karma, or what other’s like to call fate. What you give is irrelevant, and what you get is random…” The music features exuberant layers of fuzzy and jangly guitars and powerful drums.
“This Time” serves up a deep, thumping bass line, delicious jangly guitars and the kind of strong, pummeling drumbeat that I love in songs. McCay’s emotionally wrought vocals seem to channel The Cure’s Robert Smith on this track. And the stunning chiming guitar work and sweeping melody on “Can We Skip This?” really showcase The Silence Kit’s strong musicianship. By the fifth track, the stellar, hard-hitting “Everything You Feel Good About,” I’m pretty well hooked on this band’s arresting music style and McCay’s slightly off-kilter but always captivating vocals.
The phenomenal “Wound” is another great example of what I’m talking about. The dark song starts off with a melancholy piano riff, accompanied by ominous synths, a deep, buzzing bass line and chugging guitars as McCay sings with a low, almost menacing voice. “I got this one thing on my mind. I’ve got to keep from losing you. / I wear this like it’s my own, a fine wound, so much to lose.” Two thirds of the way in, the tempo speeds up to a frantic pace as guitars rage and McCay screams “Don’t say a word” several times, then the music slows back down through to song’s end.
One of my favorite tracks is the brooding “Worry,” with its reverb-heavy layered guitars, sweeping psychedelic synths and tumultuous percussion that create an immense backdrop for McCay’s intensely passionate vocals. Another standout is the monumental six and a half minute-long “Never Say Goodbye.” Its haunting melody, lush, soaring instrumentals, and intricate guitar work are all positively breathtaking. The band keeps dazing our senses with raging riffs, dark synths, thunderous drums and raw vocals on “How Does it Feel?” and “Tablecloth.” McCay’s vocals sound decidedly British on the former track as he wails “How does it feel when you’re down and you find out everyone loves your best friend now? How does it feel when you’re gone?”
They seem to pull together all the elements of their signature sound and put them on full display on the gorgeous album closer “Discard.” The stunning reverb-heavy jangly guitars that open the epic track and continue throughout are fantastic, serving as the foundation for this magnificent song. Waves of sparkling, psychedelic synths wash over the guitars, aided by a deep bassline and layer upon layer of crashing cymbals and turbulent drums. It’s a massive song and the perfect ending to an equally massive album that leaves me awestruck.
The Silence Kit "Fall Protection" review & interview
Anything but silent, The Silence Kit puts out music that fuses a variety of genres yet artfully dissects them so each song stands out on its own. Merging post punk, dark indie, and shoegazing dream pop, this NJ/PA-based band a stands all the way out in what often feels like a sea of bands marching forever under the Echo & The Division Cave Order Valentine Dive banner, and they just dropped their 5th LP: Fall Protection. “Fall Protection” is aviation-speak for a harness to use when jumping out of a plane, which is an interesting analogy for these crisp and cutting, but ripe, songs that rely on the intrigue of mundane aspects of relationships coupled with the inevitable foibles of everyday life, an auditory harness designed to keep you as safe as possible from an emotional tumble.
The track titles tell a story that one needs to completely dig into from beginning to end in order to fully appreciate them. These songs slip easily into one another like 3-and-a-half minute chapters of a novella. Ripe with introspection and a borderline angst that never quite reaches a tipping point, not to mention sheer bewilderment, Fall Protection emphasizes The Silence Kit’s capacity to morph a platter of diverse genres.
Leadoff track “Supermarket” ripples with the dark dexterity of Pat’s voice. This is nothing like Joe Strummer and Mick Jones’ trip to the Supermarket. It’s apparent from the start that The Silence Kit are wheeling their own shopping cart down an aisle far removed from the consumer dread usually threaded through tracks on this subject.
The pounded piano chords opening “Wound” remind you that this instrument doesn’t always have to be pretty. The vibe is claustrophobic, sick even. “I cough and scratch and cling to walls”. Demands are made. “Don’t you say a word. Don’t you say a word”. Another dark “W” track, “Worry”, showcases their ability to dip a toe into many genres without getting trapped in any of them. This thing takes almost a minute of guitar buildup before the vocals pop. Pat is worried about someone and “It’s all he can do”. He goes on to lament “But what good does that do?” What indeed?
A standout track, the icy “Can We Skip This” almost morphs all the way into surf rock territory before its effectively abrupt ending, with the chorus asking a truly pertinent question: “Is this life or can we skip this?” These are some of the most searing, detail-oriented breakup couplets you’ve heard in a minute. “I hide beneath the tablecloth…. You get angry then you are bored. Should have known this is bound to happen. I was just hoping there was something more”. Things don’t seem to be going too well here, do they? “You play victim but you are fooling no one” This is certainly “final track” material, but a quick check of the tracklist will show you this one isn’t over quite yet.
“Discard” rounds out this group of moody, melodic tracks with a deceitfully meandering melody line that barely contains a palpable aggression burning just neath the surface. Mostly relying on cascading melodies tangled with reverb and distorted guitar, this song lands somewhere in what most critics would shoehorn into the “shoegaze” category, but there’s a solid texture to this gauziness, a cascading sort of ascension, that’s much easier to sink your teeth into than your average Ride track.
At more than one one point on this record, the tremolo backspin hits that “drunk butterfly flying backwards” realm that only the very best psyched out postpunk can conjure.
Pat McCay graciously offered to answer some of my scintillating questions. Here are those scintillating questions and what he had to say about them:
The Silence Kit "Fall Protection" Track By Track
Translate to English
Prediletos daqui do TBTCI, desde o primeiro contato, os phillies do The Silence Kit são audição obrigatória quando o assunto é pós punk para este que vos escreve. Seguindo a tradição clássica, leia-se The Sound, The Chameleons, The Cure, os caras chegam a "Fall Protection" seu novo trabalho em seu melhor momento. Melodicamente intenso, poeticamente certeiro, o The Silence Kit, sintetiza no novo disco seus melhores momentos. Já na abertura sintética e metalizada de "Supermarket", lembrando o grande Bright Channel, os caras já dão todas as pistas do que é o álbum. Um mix de cinzento mas não doentio, angustiante mas não desesperador, um revitalização modernizada do pós punk clássico.
Um disco intenso na medida certeira para o milênio, facilmente um dos grandes trabalhos deste 2018 para o TBTCI, e é óbvio que para obras como "Fall Protection" é necessário ir a fundo, e para isso o TBTCI convidou seus criadores para decuparem faixa a faixa este pepita.
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