The Silence Kit | Press
The Silence Kit "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
[Click for Google Translate]
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.
Corram para a escuridão...
[New Year's Eve]
[Can We Skip This?]
[Everything You Feel Good About]
[Never Say Goodbye]
[How Does It Feel?]
The Silence Kit “Supermarket” single review
Philadelphia-based post-punk band The Silence Kit have shared a new single.
Undercurrents of classic bands like The Psychedelic Furs, Sonic Youth, The Cure, The Chameleons and Echo and the Bunnymen, can be heard in Supermarket, the latest from their semi-monthly singles series.
With a swirling, textured depth, and anchored by a solid backbeat, a driving riff, and a catchy vocal melody, it has much to commend it.
One Sixty with The Silence Kit - An Interview
[Click for Google Translate]
Pós punk clássico é o que os phillies do The Silence Kit apresentam em doses generosas e cavalares, as vezes mais darks em outras mais gazers e ainda soam muitas vezes psicodélicos mas a espinha dorsal sonora é sempre aprofundada nos pós punk.
Os caras soltaram recentemente seu novo single "One Sixty" que é uma pedrada na cabeça, soando como uma lógica sequência ao EP "The First Four" e principalmente ao intenso "Watershed" álbum lançado em 2014, o qual o TBTCI considera o ponto alto da discografia do The Silence Kit.
Perfeito para noites geladas e escuras.
Interview with The Silence Kit
Q. When did The Silence Kit start? Tell us about the history...
What started as a solo recording project many years ago eventually turned into The Silence Kit. We've released 4 albums and a growing list of singles through the years. Our most recent LP "Watershed" was released on Azteca Records in 2014, and most recently we've begun a singles series in which we are releasing a new single every couple of months. The A-sides are brand new songs and the B-sides are other new songs, re-recorded versions of our older songs, or covers of other people's songs.
Q: Who are your influences?
Our influences are pretty varied. We listen to and get inspired by a lot of different kinds of music: Krautrock, 70s-80s post-punk, 90s indie rock and many things in between.
Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…Patrick:
Echo and the Bunnymen - Porcupine
Chokebore - Black Black
Portishead - S/T (2nd album)
The Cure - Pornography
The Sound - From the Lions Mouth
The Stone Roses - S/T
The Verve - A Northern Soul
The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
The Who - Quadrophenia
Morrissey - Vauxhall and I
Rush - Hemispheres
Failure - Fantastic Planet
Can - Tago Mago
The Cure - Disintegration
Neurosis - Times of Grace
The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
Ultra Vivid Scene (self-titled)
Cranes - Loved
OMD - The Pacific Age
Men Without Hats - Pop Goes The World
Q. How do you feel playing live?
Playing live is a cathartic experience, when we let the energy of the songs take over and we get to explore the sound of the songs in a new space, in front of new faces, which is always exciting.
Q. How do you describe The Silence Kit sounds?
Shoegaze/psych/goth/indie influenced post-punk. It's been said that we sound like 1977-1984 with a sprinkle of 1992.
Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
We have our own studio where we rehearse and record. So, we can be in the middle of rehearsal and decide to switch to recording pretty quickly, which lets us record things while we are still really excited about them. We record most of the instrumentation live because that gives the songs a more natural feel and we can capture more of the same energy we bring to the songs when we play them at shows. Working on the singles series has been nice because it means we're able to focus on recording just a couple songs at a time each month so we can really take our time with them.
Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
Myrrias, Woven In, Mercury Girls, Expert Alterations, Wildhoney
Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?
We actually just recorded a cover of a Chokebore song, called "Cleaner" which has been something I've always wanted to do. I saw them live many years ago in Philadelphia and I was completely blown away. Having bought all their albums through the years, I've always found them remarkable. A band that sounds like no one else and that really brings a lot of power, mood and energy to their songs.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
We have a few more singles to record and release, and once the singles series is complete, we'll be compiling much of that material into our next full length album.
Q: Any parting words?
Thank you for your time! And to anyone who likes what we're doing, we encourage you to share it.
The Silence Kit “Complicated” single review
Heavily synth driven, deepened 80’s new wave vocals and rock hooks make “Complicated” on par with their previous single releases. Their post punk / new wave sound only gets better on this recording! Releasing a single every one to two months this band has lived up to their promise by putting out a duo of tracks that are better than an album of half decent tracks just to put them out. They’ve succeeded in making great music this way and these two tracks are absolutely killer!
Recommended Track: “Complicated”
The Silence Kit “Supermarket” single review
More killer 90’s alt rock inspired tracks from their semi-monthly installment of singles. Catchy and hook oriented, these two songs will definitely have your head nodding non-stop from the first seconds to the end of the last track. I love how they’ve been releasing material in digestible pieces, giving a proper amount of attention to make each track as awesome as it possibly can be and it really shows through out all of their releases. This one is the best so far!
Recommended Track: “Supermarket”
The Silence Kit “This Time” single review
New wave-esque, post punk, indie rock with a knack to build songs up in a very profound way. In their second of monthly/bimonthly single release these two tracks have a real epic sound and progressively become mountainous. Definitely REQUIRED LISTENING! Press play, NOW!
Recommended Track: “This Time”
Moody post-punkers The Silence Kit have been creating making some of the best ’80s influenced alt-rock in Philly since they began back in 2002. They are currently in the midst of a monthly single series and just this week released an original titled, “This Time”.
The Next NEXT Twenty Current Post-Punk Bands You Should Know About
THE SILENCE KIT (Philadelphia). In our review of this lot's most recent release Watershed we asked rhetorically 'Is post-punk americana' possible?' The answer was an unequivocal "YES!" though with certain stylistic caveats (no banjos, for instance). One of many bands both post-punk (Protomartyr) and otherwise (Northern Arms) that underscore the percolating health of the Philly music scene.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
This morning on my commute to work I have a playlist of all Philly Locals that I throw on to give my morning a good boost and a few songs came on that stood out more than the others. Low and behold, it was The Silence Kit's Watershed every time I picked up my phone. Their combination of alternative, indie rock, new wave and post punk develops into a sound that is relatively rare in our scene although they'd fit right in with bands like SGNLS, The Bad Doctors, Likers, etc. To be honest, I kind of didn't know what to think of the Watershed upon the first initial listens. It was kind of out of my wheelhouse. After weeks of reviewing extreme music, I realized that listening to something this different challenged me to really keep an open mind and focus on what I really liked about it. By the third listen in, it definitely grew on me and I actually really liked what these guys had done on Watershed a lot!
First things first, the recording is tight. I mean like really fucking tight! Everything is clear as day and the mix is perfect. The drumming is minimalistic with subtle intricacies that fit right into the music, the bass drives the rythum of the song, the guitar tastefully selected effects simplistic leads that really add a lot to the music. The keys and multi-instrumental arrangements are the icing on top of the preverbal musical cake and of course the gothy, baritone vocals provide the post-punk / new wave vibe.
Watershed starts off with a straight rocker with some interesting key work in "I Could Be." The bass line is great and the horn section in the song is unexpected, but completely welcomed. Surfy, Cure-esque "Don't Make Me Wish I Hadn't" is one of my favorite tracks on the album and I'm pretty sure one of the tracks that came on this morning. The chorus in this song has a perfect momentum building structure that leads into an awesome synth lead right afterwards that is just fucking perfect! If all of that wasn't enough, it rocks really hard at the end making for one amazing conclusion to this track!
"I'll Get It Wrong" slows down the pace, but has a lingering tension and killer guitar leads that are so simple yet add so much to the song. With the first strum of "It Goes Down" the acoustic guitars come out sticking to their signature style, but adding a whole new dynamic to the album. This song is slow and sad, but picks up when the chorus kicks in. "Five Hundred Pieces" slows everything WAY down. This track is just straight sad. it's powerful if you're in the right mood, but fuck it's just straight depressed. Thankfully, "You Think I'm Crazy Now?" brings a more upbeat side of these guys back. The guitar lead, vocals and chorus make this song completely amazing. I think this was the other track that came on this morning as well. Letting the drums and keys shine a bit more, the next track "Let's Pretend We Don't Know" is a goth rock heavy track that is a bit slower, but keeps the intensity high. "Silverware Drawer" has a bit of a 90's grunge sound to it, but keeps it indie rock with the xylophone in the background.
Goth party dance track "You Will Never Understand" is a steady head nodding track that is really chill with lots of keys and one string guitar solos. The slightly unhinged track "All of the Answers" has a slight weirdness that piqued my interest in the beginning and through out the song is a straight creeping rocker. "Looking Through" turns up the synth leads and is a calmly written slow jam that yields a bit more on the electronic dance side of their style. The drum beat in "We Grow Up" kind of has a western feel to it which complimented by yet another killer chorus makes this song again another awesome track on the album. "I Just Wanted To Think Clearer" signifies the album is coming to a close by slowing it all down one fine time before "Good For Nothing" with its really interesting backwards track opening that fades into an acoustic ending. This track is a bit more earthy but again still retains their sound intact.
Watershed is a totally solid effort put forth by The Silence Kit. If you're in town tonight they'll be playing at the Boot and Saddle with Wedding Dress and Gorgeous Porch. Get out there and check them out. You can get their CD at the show or you can download it digitally on their bandcamp below. Listen to it and get stoked on them tonight!
New Video: The Silence Kit - You Think I'm Crazy Now
While a marionette farmer plans for a nuclear fallout in '60s black and white PSA footage, Philadelphia-based post punk band The Silence Kit blasts through the melodic rush of their 2 minute You Think I'm Crazy Now? from their new LP Watershed.
Shadowed, Ecstatic - The Silence Kit's "Watershed" review
Is 'post-punk americana' possible? The earlier examples of the Blasters/X axis, the Gun Club, and Meat Puppets notwithstanding (and completely bypassing cowpunk altogether), it's an especially curious proposition in this far more strictly stratified age. At least in terms of those two genres, in 2014, you're either this or you're that, you're not both. On new album Watershed, however, Silence Kit from what seems the suddenly emerging hotspot scene of Philadelphia, would more than beg to differ, they'd demand to, and they bring a bulging beat-up suitcase of persuasion along with them should any convincing be needed. Wasting no time, they set straight off from, in fact, a chunky, more broadly-stroked and urbanized Kirkwood Bros territory on opener "I Could Be," a certain bluesy churn (enhanced by guest Bryan Havoc's Philly R&B sax) obtaining inside a dark indie context and right away, with Don Ocava's bass maintaining that deep Burnelled groove, intrigue is tugging at us.
On following track "Don't Make Me Wish I Hadn't," synth-soaked, guitar-charged and shaded as a lonely night, we're going more desert than noir, Patrick McCay's baritone husk of a voice distilling the bleaker currents of fracturing romantic distress with a menacing grace. Just as a bonus we get a chorus that surges all Magazine-like which I don't know, if I were you and I'd just read that description, I'd be very keen indeed, and should you follow that lure of curiosity, Watershed shall - and pardon me for saying this - shower you with reward.
From the ponderous-yet-somehow-still-majestic "I'll Get It Wrong" that splits the difference between A Forest-era Cure and a Swans-inflected Giant Sand to the aching and deliberate "Five Hundred Pieces" that connotes as slow-motion excitement to "Let's Pretend We Don't Know"'s lugubrious splendor with its keyboard haunt (I'll refrain from mentioning Dave Formula) and bass heaviosity and McCay's basement-shaking vocal suggesting Hobarth, Tasmania's Native Cats relocating to the citified heart of the United States, this record shakes the soul and not a small area of the solar plexus. That it does so while frequently maintaining - as may have been noticed from the gist of adjectives so far - a sonically melancholic profile, is not a little remarkable. Even when they exude something of an uptempo glow, as on the fuzzed jaunt of "Looking Through" with its invincible driving hooks that are eerily - wonderfully - reminiscent of some lost Mystere V's 7-inch, the song rides a minor-chord progression that's some distance from what might be tagged as 'celebratory.' Naturally, all this glowering effusion is exhilarating, the measured, rather level-headed ecstasy of sound drawing you in and rather begging you to float along. Resistance, as you'll find, really isn't an option.
Confessional and pretty damn close to being ballad-y (dual acoustics!), with a sadly ringing electric like a rustic Feelies of all things, "It Comes Down" is fairly devastating, the type track wherein we realize 'Oh yeah, yearning and desolation really are the underside of joy, aren't they? We're always shadowed' and you've gotta thank a band for bringing you to a place as dark and sublime as that. With Jay Dyer's muscular Stephen Morris drum pound opening and the triumphant churning of guitar, "All Of The Answers" is what Billy Idol could have sounded like had he not let himself get sucked into the Hollywooded self-mythologizing machine, and is therefore quite the treat, while "We Grow Up" is simply a corker of a downer tune, its luxurious post-punk mope fabulous, the harmonies making it damn near anthemic and I want to see this one live (I'll be the guy lurching about like an eyes-closed-tight Sufi, mouthing the chorus as if it's a chant and feeling 29 again). It's "You Will Never Understand," however, where we might just have the band at their best, all those multiple features thus far mentioned - the deep national voice, the synthy atmospherics, some poignantly bleak guitar hooks (Benjamin Endling), the bass's throaty post-punk insistence and an exuberantly caged beat - blossoming full-thrush into a three minute twelve second mini-opus of rafter-rattling proportions.
Though not entirely free of a modest misstep here or there - "Silverware Drawer" is little more than an earnest aside while the sLOWcore sunset droop of "I Just Wanted To Think Clearer" (aside from it's [sic] factor), though abidingly pretty, rather drops momentum's ball - the release of Watershed is indeed an event worthy of its title and an album strong enough to pull me post-haste to their heretofore unheard (by me) catalog while lamenting once again the folly of ever believing I've caught up. The Silence Kit make me wonder what else I've missed, what I'm missing right this instant, and that is a gift. Lads, I'm in your debt.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
The Silence Kit, a Philadelphia-based band led by local musician Pat McCay since the mid-aught's will headline a show at Bourbon & Branch this Friday. The band has reason to celebrate, and in their newly released full-length album, Watershed, we're seeing even more familiarity in a group whose brooding guitar work and lyricism has always focused on the darker side of new wave to chilling effect (The Cure, Nick Cave, Interpol).
The new album is awash in experimentation, and at times borders on psych or acid-rock on songs like "It Goes Down", "Five Hundred Pieces" and "You Will Never Understand". With hookier tracks like "You Think I'm Crazy Now?" and the Benjamin Endling/McCay co-write "Looking Through" the band shows off a startling and shiner pop side as well; a stark contrast and hit of light compared to the darker material on the album, including the heady, fuzz-bass and vocal boom of "You Think I'm Crazy Now"'s follow-up track "Let's Pretend We Don't Know".
There are a lot of unexpected and interesting twists and turns that McCay seems to be taking the band on for Watershed; is it the emotion of the lyrics or just the send-up of the instrumentation and style coupled with the ever-present dark layer? Maybe this experimental layer is only the middle inside of a bridge. All questions left better answered by the band themselves this Friday at Bourbon & Branch. Supporting the show are local rockers Tin Horses, and NJ-based Successful Failures.
Singles & Bands to Watch: The Silence Kit "Looking Through"
The Silence Kit has been making original alternative indie rock for awhile now and every track is crafted with care. We respect this and it comes through very clearly these guys know what they are doing. Here's a cool song equaly parts baritone new wave vocals with some Haircut 100 thrown in this song called "Looking through" Swizzlings keyboards and a mix of Cure-esque simplicity from their new album Watershed. Check out their deep catalog on their bandcamp. If you love all the amazing sounds of real 80's alternative then dig this man.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
Amongst the tall trees a stranger walks heartbroken and alone. As he ascends deeper into the unknown he searches for new beginnings. Suddenly, he notices something small glimmering in the sun. "What luck!" he thinks as he crouches in the soft earth to recover the small darkened treasure. He holds his prize to his face between his thumb and index finger to gaze upon the sixteenth American President, Abraham Lincoln engraved in its copper surface. His appearance, once noble and stately, now is left scratched and corroded. Being one of strong superstition he soon believes his luck will change.
As he reflect on his less than attractive penny, he considers its symbolic worth and value. He realizes it doesn't amount to much as currency, but as a sign of good fortune it is incalculable. He next considers the area of this penny which, while it is all but destroyed, possesses a certain unique beauty that makes it stand out from the millions of others that have been reproduced in its image. He takes particular and special note of the bluish green tint that oozes from the presidents face. A chuckle escapes his lips as he thinks about how much it relates to his own life. A song then creeps into his head, Five Hundred Pieces by The Silence Kit. He anxiously reaches into his pocket to remove a pair of tangled headphones that are quickly plugged into his ears to permeate his fragile impressionable brain. Music fills his skull and the words The Silence Kit-Watershed scroll across his portable mp3 player.
The Silence Kit is a post-punk rock outfit based in the Jersey and Philadelphian area. In early April they released Watershed, their fourth LP on Azteca Records and Break Even Records. When I consider this album I consider that scratched and damaged penny; a relic of misunderstood beauty which has enough interest and history to grip my attention. At the core of this latest artistic achievement we have an open narrative that guides us through life's journey with an abstract focus on the layered, textural battles each of us face in our daily lives. This relatable content however is so vague, yet it remains applicable to any facet of life and becomes transcendent.
Expressing this harrowing narrative is Pat McCay on vocals and guitar, accompanied by his band of misfits; Don Ocava on bass, Jay Dyer on drums, and percussion, Benjamin Endling, on guitar, and keyboards with additional melodramatic pop sensibilities by Bryan Hovac on saxophone, Tj Wark on guitar and Larry McCay IV on violin.
This proves to be an impressive line up, as the instrumentation is filled with creative rhythms and delicate details that can easily be over looked upon first listen. Of special note is the lyrical content which becomes tightly interwoven into the melodies of each song. However, it remains recognizable and distinguishable by Pat McCay's signature deep, warbling vocals. On songs like Looking Through, and We Grow Up he performs my favorite vocal deliveries by creating layered vocal patterns that surprise and invite his sleepy, lazy interpretation. By repeating such iconic words as We Cried Wolf", "on We Grow Up he invites the realm of folk art and life lessons into his craft.
The emotional disdain that is communicated works even in the more pop-driven songs on this LP. Looking Through is perhaps the most pop driven song on this album, yet McCay somehow incorporates his pained voice into the fabric of the song; a strange juxtaposition but it works flawlessly. As a creative force, he is a great frontman who doesn't fall into the trappings of being too predictable, which adds to The Silence Kit's timeless quality.
The band as a whole creates amazing song structures, which seem to be rooted and influenced by the more underground music scene of the eighties. However they do so in a fresh and new way, not only studying the history book, but writing their own chapter in its pages. There is present in this record a thread of consistency, but there's also a strong sense of inconsistency. Each song is so varied as to its prior track that they could stand alone and function fine. When brought together though, the songs create a full body with a functioning head.
There is no filler on this album, just tightly conceived songs that really use their instrumentation. The drum fills are varied and forceful, the guitars are flourishing and melodic, and the bass is driving and powerful. Shimmering beauty creates the wall of sound on this recording, and when the keyboard is laid into the tracks, it creates an atmospheric quality. This provides an underpainting for its overall composition with additional instrumentation added to sprinkle a bit of spice over each subsequent track.
The Silence Kit are one of those bands that you will grow to love. With each listen you will notice something that wasn't readily present before, just like putting your head against someone's chest to hear their heart beat. These simple moments that often can be taken for granted, yet when reflected upon, are truly magnificent.
The band has made it is easy for you to explore their catalog of music as the entirety of their albums are streamable for free on their bandcamp website. So take a second to appreciate the monumentally all-encapsulating album art by Samuel Esner than click download. When you grab your free tracks descend into the woods like our early protagonist and listen to The Silence Kit's new offering Watershed. Then hit repeat.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
First song 'I Could Be' is everything a post-punk track should be. It's slick yet gritty, muscular, funky and urgent but embraces the lighter side of melancholia which The Silence Kit were beginning to explore on their most recent EPs... 'I'll Get It Wrong' is glummer than glum rock both lyrically and in its dry, depressing aura... However, on 'Five Hundred Pieces', McCay and co. hit on the kind of studied, self-loathing gloom ("I think you make me miserable") their much-cited influence The Cure would certainly appreciate.
The Silence Kit have become a band of surprises too, so they're not afraid of following the relatively throwaway indie pop of 'You Think I'm Crazy Now' with 'Let's Pretend We Don't Know', which uses a similar serene synth wash to Joy Division's 'Atmosphere' and piles on the pounding drums as McCay's baritone intones "I Can't Be Won". Dyer's pummeling drums are a regular feature of this album and they are similarly memorable on a relentlessly heavy 'All Of The Answers'. Towards the album's denouement, the group continue to vary their palette, as the synth-led 'Looking Through' balances intensity with infectious hooks and the excellent 'I Just Wanted To Think Clearer' presents a rewarding study in darkness rounded off by a quite lovely coda.
The production may be thick and murky, the songs often murkier still but when 'Watershed' captures that balance between sadness and vitality, great things can happen. This is not necessarily a 'Watershed' but it's certainly another sign that The Silence Kit are a band that looks to the possibilities of the present whist referencing the past.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
If I thought for a second that Nick Cave listened to new music (or read newspapers), I'd tell him to check out Watershed (Azteca), the dashing new release by this moody, darkly groovy rock band. Surely he'd dig the way these Philly dudes do post-punk aggression and new wave pop drama. (Often it's more The Cure than Bad Seeds, but Robert Smith is AWOL.) And hey Nick: You can download TSK's entire back catalogue from Bandcamp for free and/or see them live at Bourbon and Branch on April 5.
The Silence Kit "Watershed" review
The Silence Kit are a northern US band who out-Brit most of the British bands making music today. Watershed, their latest album, does nothing to diminish that first sentence. It does not aim to reinvent the wheel, and it does not try to be trendy... this band does what they want, and they are very good at it.
They waste no time getting started here with "I Could Be", its rhythms briefly reminding me of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins (and then the tears come out when I remember that the Pumpkins used to be magnificent). This band have far more in common with another similarly psychedelic outfit, The Cure, but not in a 'sounds like' sort of way per se: they capture the muted austerity of The Cure's best moments. Although, shit, "Let's Pretend We Don't Know" with its string synths and pounding toms would fit in nicely on Pornography, let's just be honest here.
We're getting away from the music of The Silence Kit, though. The point is their music is moody, but you never get the impression that it's forced or betrays the songs themselves. You can hear the lonely drift of deserts in "Five Hundred Pieces", and many of the songs have a nocturnal quality. Pat McCay's broken croon is at its best when the arrangements are stripped back a bit, as evidenced in "It Goes Down", "I Just Wanted To Think Clearer", and the jangle of the very brief "Silverware Drawer".... It's an older, wiser version of The Silence Kit who have honed their craft to a most pleasurable end result."
The Silence Kit "I Could Be" single review
The Silence Kit share new track "I Could Be" off of Watershed
Local post-punk quartet The Silence Kit have dropped a new song called "I Could Be" off of their forthcoming LP Watershed, set for release next month. With a dark and ominous bass line and distorted guitars, the song hits the classic notes of post-punk before blending in a brass section that draws the song into brighter waters, if only for short bursts at a time. There's nothing to suggest that The Silence Kit was not a cult favorite in the 80s, their sound is so steeped in the moody, inverted psychedelia tones of Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure.
The Silence Kit "In Parts" review
The breeziness of “The Stairs” EP is gone, replaced by a downcast sound well suited for a downpour of invention.
‘I Can Tell’ mooches indignantly along, with guitars high and low jostling one another over a portly, sedate rhythm. Hollow vocals mutter about Hell as the bass threatens to invade his very lungs. The music is full of action, the guitar grazed, the drums a knowing brain at the centre of the slumped form. ‘In Parts’ starts fairly low-key as the guitars twinkle like migraine-infested stars but an impetuous bass soon breaks out, walking on the spot and attracting angst on all sides, as a raw cloud of sound descends, not unlike an angry Kitchens Of Distinction.
‘Broken Satellites’ is more at ease with itself but in this trim, heated display the vocals jut out further, breast-beating and bitter. That agitation is maintained in ‘Forget Everything’, keyboards adding suspense, guitar grim but glorious. ‘Uncertain’ is a beautiful bout of bloated Americana with the slow, shimmery guitar indicative of heavy-headed introspection and on such a slow-burn fuse somebody forgot the matches. In ‘Another Fine Mess’ the leery confidence of the vocalist skims the melodic surface like an orchestra conductor waving imperiously in the middle of a polite sewer.
Excellent band, offering you choices in a cunning manner – you have to like that.
http://thesilencekit.bandcamp.com/album/in-parts - free download or order a CD for $2.50
The Silence Kit "The Stairs" review
Listening to a song by The Silence Kit is akin to following the flight of a particularly decorative arrow, especially given the bright, clear nature of this selection. “The Stairs” is a collection of the lighter, ultra-tuneful side of these post-punketeers, released earlier last year but now available as a free download. “In Parts”, its sister EP with the more troubled face, will be reviewed tomorrow.
Charismatically scrawny guitar nudges ‘The Throw Yourself Down The Stairs Contest’ into action and at a leisurely pace they set off on a summery, quizzical jaunt, the casual quiet and lightly engaging vocals regularly coursing together with an all-out vibrant musical pulsing outburst, that doesn’t disrupt the linear stroll and ends with a brilliant fizzy, emphatic end. ‘The Magician’ has a politely restless feel to a deliciously toppy flow in which the freshly pressed rhythm section create a cool breeze for the guitar to contemplate perspiring as cool vocals lean gently in.
The vocalist has something on his mind, the bastards, in ‘And That Was It’ and seeks to explain what, unsuccessfully, over the sweetly nagging song, which sees the keyboards floating through and bashful guitar protruding. Then there’s an acoustic punky racket to the snappy ‘You Won’t See’ and the lilting simplicity is totally refreshing. Imagine Patrik Fitzgerald fronting The Mekons and your ears are like finely tuned radar, ladies and gentlemen.
http://thesilencekit.bandcamp.com/album/the-stairs - download free or order a CD for $2.50
The Silence Kit songs from "The Stairs" review
...And then came The Silence Kit.
The Magician ... More of an upbeat melody than the next track. The song is a good Post Punk example of a moody conflict between sadness and hope. But it does it by complaining without being whiny. (many other Post Punk songs seem too whiny to me) It sure does a job on one's perspective of waiting. Lyrics are waiting for an answer while asking a question: "what good would it do?" "to hold my breath for you." This tune is lyrical closer to the Smiths without Morrissey's presentation. It does have more of a hopeless drifting away. Production wise, the vocals are mixed a tad under the music bed. Not exactly buried, just slightly under the radar. The musicianship is well rounded and all members seem to hit their mark.
Track #3 And That Was It ... Basic cord structure of darkness wrapped in self-pity. Downright moody. This tune does grab you and take you into a inter space that does not exist if you have an optimistic personally (or so I thought). This song does have a better mix than the previous track. The vocals are a bit brighter even though the lyrics are a bit darker. Lyrics bleed you : "colors pouring out of me." When one pours out their colors, all of their colors by basically draining the blood, this song is what is leftover. A good sounding guitar solo does paint a nice little ray of hope. Good clean and happier tones but it is at the end of the song. It’s a good thing, too. By that time I was in desperate need of holding on to something.
The Silence Kit is the perfect name for the style / genre of music they do. It is my opinion after listening to both of these songs by The Silence Kit : they are a bit on the artistically dark side with broad strokes of melancholy mixed with a heavy hearted pessimistic outlook. The music places you directly in the ocean of dispare then they throw you a life vest, as it starts to rain. Musically they are safe but emotionally you are not. You will like them if you truly appreciate lyrics where things are not going to be all right, and you are emotionally on a place that is level. (I almost said : then you will love The Silence Kit, but then happiness and love don't mix well in the moody Post-Punk world. A world where this band fits nicely.) If you're a Post-Punker, The Silence Kit is made for you. Especially when you are having your half empty cup of tea laced with The Mighty Lemon Drops and you enjoy the domestic melancholy after taste. All that I know, is that after sampling theses tunes, I just need a real big hug.
Focus on Philly Bands - The Silence Kit
Local Band Offers Free Downloads of New EP Releases
In an unusual double move that must have their fans screaming with joy, Break Even Records and Azteca Records Recording Artist The Silence Kit has simultaneously released two new EP's, The Stairs and In Parts and is currently offering free downloads of both EPs. In 2010, this Philly-based Indie Rock band released Dislocations, which was well-received by critics. According to the band's website, Philadelphia City Paper praised the album as "boldest, most cohesive statement so far."
The double Ep project began as a singles project for the song "The Magician", which was originally released on their Dislocations album. According to their Azteca Records website, the single eventually evolved into an EP project that was nearing completion when the band decided to record a second EP. The Silence Kit released them both on April 1st of this year.
The Stairs reflects the band's indie rock sound, with catchier pop melodies, and a brighter sound. The highlight of this EP clearly is "The Magician", although the opening song, "The Throw Yourself Down The Stairs Contest" is this writer's favorite song title of 2011.
In Parts is a dark companion EP, representing the edgier, more disparate elements of The Silence Kit's unique post-punk sound. The band states on their download page that this project began upon the discovery of two older songs, "Uncertain" and "I can Tell". The Silence Kit ultimately decided to add more songs of similar style and sound, and that represents their live sound.
Simultaneously releasing an EP that is wholly separate in style and depth carries certain risks. Fans may gravitate to one style and reject the other. The band could develop identity problems- which direction is the best next musical direction? The Silence Kit handles this dilemma nicely, as both EPs play well together in spite of their clear stylistic differences.
Overall, the production standards could use some tweaking. The sound quality of their 2010 release, Dislocations, is clearly superior. This may be a post-production or mix-down solution that the band should plan for on their next release. In the band's defense, most EP's released today do not match the production values of a full CD release- the goal is different- the EP's can be sold at a much reduced cost, or in the case of The Silence Kit, downloaded for free. EP's are more about getting new music to the fans.
If anything is true, it is that In Parts and The Stairs both make an excellent case for seeing The Silence Kit live in concert. On June 24th, The Silence Kit will be performing at The Boneyard in Atlantic City. Doors open at 8pm and there is a $5.00 cover charge. Parking is free. Opening for The Silence Kit (facebook link) is My Love For Danger (facebook link). On June 26th, you can catch The Silence Kit performing at Kungfu Necktie, 1248 N Front Street, Philadelphia, PA.
The Silence Kit - Melancholischer Pop und schlunzig-noisige Gitarrenmusik
[Click for Google Translate]
Die Band The Silent Kit kommen von drüben, also New Jersey and Philadelphia, USA und wurden und werden hier des öfteren erwähnt. So richtig in die Pötte kommen sie nicht, dafür die Musik wahrscheinlich zu unspekatulär. Aber die Fünf und ihr Mischung aus melancholischen Pop und gestriger, schlunzig-noisiger und verhallter Gitarrenmusik ist mir nun einmal sympatisch. Hell und dunkel dicht beieinander Ich nenne mal so ein paar Vorbilder, die die Herrschaften frech auf ihre Facebook-Seite gepappt haben: David Bowie, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Joy Division, Portishead, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Morrissey, The Chameleons, The Violent Femmes, The Comsat Angels, Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Lloyd Cole, PIL, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, Low, Codeine, Logh, Idaho, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, L’altra, Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine, The Killers, Gary Numan, The Editors, Lush, Wire, Placebo, Radiohead, New Order, Syd Barrett, The Sound, Spaceman 3 und The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Mein lieber Herr Gesangsverein, das ist schon eine ordentliche Hausnummer. Zwar können sie mit ihren poppigen Post-Punk den wenigsten ihrer Vorbilder das Wasser reichen, aber das wissen sie wahrscheinlich selbst und es macht sie uns nicht unsympatischer, den die Songs der Band gehen angenehm ins Ohr, man mag beim Hören nicht wegschalten und überhaupt gibt es viel Schlimmeres. Von The Silent Kit gibt es neue Musik. Die beiden EP`s “The Stairs” and “In Parts” werden via Bandcamp verschenkt und sind die Tage gemeinsam auf einer CD veröffentlicht worden.
The Silence Kit "In Parts" review
[Click for Google Translate]
Simultáneamente ven la luz dos eps de esta banda procedente de Filadelfia, la primera en repetir presencia en Musicopathyst. Si bien “The Stairs” es un trabajo correcto, que muestra el lado más indie del grupo, sin duda es “In Parts” la obra mayor de este dúo: tenebroso, lento y absorbente, heredero directo de The Names, The Essence o los Cure más atmosféricos, “In Parts” consigue sonar sorprendentemente auténtico, casi creado en los 80-90, pero con un toque original y magnético, cualidades que irradian especialmente los tres primeros temas. Estupenda la intro.
The Silence Kit "In Parts" / "The Stairs" review
Following hot on the heels from last year’s ‘Dislocations’, Philadelphia’s The Silence Kit return with essentially another album’s worth of songs. The catch is they’ve craftily split it in to two free-to-download EPs.
Cutting to the chase, ‘In Parts’ is the least impressive of the two EPs. It seems engulfed by the clouds of glum rock. ‘I Can Tell’ and ‘Uncertain’ may match the wiry guitars and murky percussion of early 1980s’ Factory releases but their dry, despairing sound is almost suffocating. At least the title track injects some much needed urgency to reach beyond the resolutely bleak outlook.
‘The Stairs’ is lighter and all the better for it. ‘The Throw Yourself Down The Stairs Contest’ builds upon a simple but addictive riff and is blessed with an appealing sense of yearning. ‘The Magician’ was one of the highlights of last year’s album and its jaunty tempo is backed up by the final two tracks which owe more to C86 records than to the band’s favoured post-punk influences.
So of the two release, ‘The Stairs’ bears more repeated listens. This is not simply because of its melodic strengths but also due to the willingness of the group to spread their wings a little wider.
Moody post-punk quartet The Silence Kit shows its sunny side in "The Magician"
Despite sharing its name with the first track on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and a fondness for melodious fuzz-guitar riffs, The Silence Kit actually has very little in common with Pavement. Led by singer/guitarist Patrick McCay, the local quartet is much more in sync with the broody, don’t-call-it-goth ’80s tones of Echo And The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, and The Cure. (Which is fine with us.) Back in February, the band released its latest record, Dislocations; below you can listen to “The Magician,” one of the album’s poppier moments. The Silence Kit performs with Bleed Radio Bleed, Alright Junior, and The Last Barbarians at 9 p.m. Friday, October 8, at North Star Bar; tickets to the 21+ show are $8. - John Vettese
[The Deli Magazine]
8/7 Show at The Fire (2010)
With dark and dreary post punk indie rock in the vein of Joy Division and Psychedelic Furs, and a strong musical background that has seen them play shows alongside the likes of Gene Loves Jezebel and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, its only a matter of time before The Silence Kit move on to bigger things. And ever since they released Dislocations back in February on Break Even and Azteca Records, it's been as bright as melancholy can be. You might feel the burning inside when they play an intimate show at The Fire tonight... The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 9pm, $7, 21+ - Bill McThrill
The Silence Kit "Dislocations" review
This is a very interesting band. On their last album, the wonderful ‘A Strange Labor’ their influences protruded brazenly, like they were some perverted musical armadillo out on the town, but this time round the collective feel is more circumspect, the songs no less engaging, but the feel a little tenser and grittier. Fans of any one of a dozen of early post-Punk bands will be thrilled by this. They can also be seen as an Indie band, but to anyone with an understanding of the original timeline Post-Punk actually is Indie. The fact Indie has come to be pallid shite is just unfortunate. Indie used to crackle with energy, insight and character. Now it’s time for dignity to reassert itself, and bands like The Silence Kit stand proud on the prow of a musical hill, ready to sweep down and desecrate notions of blandness.
‘Let There Be No Hurt’ is a glorious opener with its deceptively weedy frame. It seems to be held back, the vocals discreetly tucked between damp but phosphorus guitar and loose but targeted drums. It gives them a fluid, shadowy form and means they can come closer, then fade briskly before whipping back in, as though you are being taunted by crows. You think it’s ended abruptly, but winds immediately back round you and squeezes. Brilliant.
‘Five Seconds’ is equally relaxed antagonism with ragged guitar and bass fumes, with some crafty and cunning lyrics (“I’ve got five seconds to figure out, what went wrong and how to fix it…”) which soon pull you into the deranged drama. (“You’ve got your reasons you consider me a guest, I’ll keep my distance, ‘cos you are just a mess…”) Brusque sonic eddies turn out to be perfectly edifying as keyboards swarm in at ground level as the bass starts painting the isolation chamber. Solid but glinting smokly ‘Fire Escapes’ starts off like a righteous lecture, then starts to shake itself apart and leads us to an eventual chorus come jangly verse, given it an intriguing form.
‘Make Your Time’ has a leisurely delivery the bass laying over similarly dark bass, drums splashing noisily as the agonising vocalist goes through a period of self-deception. The sever solemnity of ‘Bad Months’ keeps you guessing whether this is accusatory of about estrangement, vocals looming over a dawdling rhythm, slow-draining synth and pretty guitar. ‘Spent Too Long Waiting’ creeps along wispily, bemoaning people living way too fast, then it crashes into incisive action, all demonstrative singing and demonic guitar surgery. ‘The Magician’ is far more relaxed and poppy, loping along breezily,
‘We Are Frozen’ picks up from that upright brightness and then surges along gloriously, the vocals keenly surfing the strict rhythm, a flickering passion enlivening the second half. ‘Your Mistakes’ returns to hot, irate action, bowling along with a seething undercurrent, topped by sighing, luxurious guitar. ‘I’ll Always Bring You Down’ acts us our hungry closer, storming off, trigger cocked, heads held high.
A great record. A moody thing with fire in its belly and a melodic heart lacerated by intriguing barbs. - Mick Mercer
The Silence Kit "Dislocations" review
On their third album, the Silence Kit continue to explore the vein of gently propulsive, moody rock with a distinctly 1980s feeling that the group has pursued from the get-go. As with their previous work, the balance between reinvention and pastiche is sometimes a bit thin -- not for nothing does "Bad Months" start out sounding exactly like a Cure song from their Disintegration/Wish heyday. That being acknowledged, there are moments throughout Dislocations that rank among the group's best, including the inspiring chorus of "Let There Be No Hurt," which starts the album, and the tight pep of "The Magician." At its brightest and best, Dislocations captures a sense not of head-nodding reverence but sudden bursting energy -- the quality that helped define performers like Adrian Borland and Mark Burgess as antithetical to a perceived too-cool-for-school approach, here exemplified by vocalist Patrick McCay on songs like "Five Seconds," while he rides the slow swing of "Your Mistakes" with both an easy grace and a sense of counting down to a final reckoning. Meanwhile, it's not a permanent Reagan/Thatcher world in the sonics -- the slow, chugging start to "Fire Escapes" suggests the quieter moments of grunge's commercial peak. - Ned Raggett
[Philadelphia City Paper]
Interview for "Dislocations" (2010)
The Silence Kit doesn't sound like much else in Philadelphia. Frontman Patrick McCay makes no bones about his love for post-punk Britishisms; the artful arrangements, stark guitars and charismatic vocals recall Joy Division or The Cure. The Silence Kit's new one, Dislocations — recorded in McCay's home studio/practice space in South Jersey — is the band's boldest, most cohesive statement so far.
City Paper: Dislocations seems to rock harder than previous TSK stuff.
Patrick McCay: You're right, the new album does probably rock a bit more. The bands we listen to and are influenced by are really quite varied. I think we're finding new ways to turn those disparate elements into new sounds, and that's of course what it's all about. Lately, things have definitely been coming out a little more edgy overall, which I think is a good thing.
CP: To my ears, it's a little less Cure and a touch more Nick Cave.
PM: A couple of songs on the album I've had for years but as soon as I brought them to this lineup the songs really took on a new life and started to rock a bit more while still retaining the textured aspects of our sound, which I think is important. But yeah, this album came out a little heavier on the Nick Cave and The Pixies side of things.
CP: Your voice sounds really strong on this one.
PM: I think I'm getting a little better at being my own critic, as well as my own engineer. Knowing whether something has to be sung again, or if it has the right feel and shouldn't be, is always the toughest part. So, I'm happy to hear you say that.
CP: "Bad Months" strikes me as the perfect Silence Kit recipe — you got the moody start leading into some loud, jangly rock, the soaring effects, the catchy chorus.
PM: Thanks a lot. It's interesting because this is one that almost didn't make the album. It's an older song I'd written years ago, and an earlier lineup of The Silence Kit played it for a while. It was a much gentler arrangement back then, and we stopped playing it in 2005 or so. . . . When the time came to record it [for Dislocations], we stumbled a bit at first since we hadn't played it in quite a while and we wondered if we should keep going with it. We decided to record some other songs and just come back to it later. Once we did that . . . we got it down really quickly and were pretty surprised by how well it turned out. We all realized that we'd kind of forgotten how much we liked the song.
- Patrick Rapa
The Silence Kit "Dislocations"
The Silence Kit's new album "Dislocations" brings together the hooky bass, post-punk song formation, and vocals that have clearly defined the band since inception. With McCay's signature vocals which bring to mind a darker version of Catherine Wheel's Rob Dickinson (especially as heard on "Five Seconds") the group's post-wave sound is occasionally intimidating. Although there is certainly something here that pulls the shades down on this production compared to the group's 2008 release; we'll be damned if "Dislocations" isn't a fine listen when it comes down to the layering of guitar melodies (especially when heard on rad opener "Let There Be No Hurt"), and we love the light they brought in on the songwriting for "The Magician".
You can really hear the styles that The Silence Kit are trying to work into the mix from synth (we have to gush over the ending on "Five Seconds") and new wave, to the inspiration that comes from a darker and more brooding sound that edges along the lines of a true Factory release. We get where Pat McCay and co. want to take these songs--and we like that you can really lean in and grab hold.
"Dislocations" is the third full-length for the group and although this album seems like the darker half to 2008's "A Strange Labor", we're digging in. We look forward to seeing these tracks performed live at the group's Philadelphia CD release party on February 27th at The Khyber (56 S. 2nd Street) in Philadelphia, along with sets featuring The Standard Model ("the band’s tight, dynamic rhythms and chiming guitar tones drive the tracks dominated by Franco Franus’ vocals") from NYC, and serving up the punch are locals' Tina Kaffeyah and also Party Photographers, with their satisfying velveteen garage crunch. Can't wait! - Carly Marcoux
The Silence Kit "A Strange Labor"
[Click for rough English Translation, courtesy of Google]
I always thought the Internet would be an incredibly quick affair. Yesterday I got an email from Philadelphia, in which The Silence Kit for the nomination for the song of the week thanks. However, "A New Disappointment" is already over one of my Year. The band had their album "A Strange Labor" rüberwachsen. Thus, reason enough for me, I like to thank and to write these lines.
My opinion about the song has in the meantime not changed much since the water is inside hinabgeflossen (the innermost flows through Hildesheim) and the album "A Strange Labor" has been released. Singer and songwriter Pat McCay has exactly the voice that it needs to deal with pathos and Schmacke listeners to bring to Mitwippen. And in fact the album is filled with 12 beautiful, old-fashioned songs of the post-punk of the eighties are influenced. Listeners like me, set in the age with the first hint of silver hair in the eighties and musically socialized, the music might.
Memories of The Chameleons, The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, and all the wonderful bands are awake again. Other defendants are Psychedelic Furs and the unreached The Comsat Angels, the only real success in Germany and the Netherlands had. Will say that the German soul like the gloomy, melancholy sounds of the eighties. - Peter
Ich dachte immer, das Internet wäre eine unheimlich schnelle Angelegenheit. Gestern bekam ich eine Mail aus Philadelphia, in der sich The Silence Kit für die Nominierung zum Song der Woche bedankte. Allerdings wurde “A New Disappointment” bereits vor über einem von mir Jahr gekürt. Die Band ließ ihr Album “A Strange Labor” rüberwachsen. Somit für mich Anlass genug, mich artig zu bedanken und diese Zeilen zu verfassen.
Meine Meinung zu dem Song hat sich in der Zwischenzeit nicht geändert, viel Wasser ist seitdem die Innerste hinabgeflossen (die Innerste fliesst durch Hildesheim) und das Album “A Strange Labor” ist erschienen. Sänger und Songschreiber Pat McCay hat genau die Stimme, die es braucht, um mit Pathos und Schmackes die Hörer zum Mitwippen zu bringen. Und tatsächlich ist das Album gefüllt mit 12 schönen, altmodischen Songs die von dem Post-Punk der Achtziger beinflusst sind. Hörer wie ich, im gesetzten Alter mit erstem Anflug von Silberhaar und in den Achtziger musikalisch sozialisiert, werden die Musik mögen.
Erinnerungen an The Chameleons, The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen und all die wunderbaren Bands werden wieder wach. Weitere Angeklagte sind Psychedelic Furs und die unerreichten The Comsat Angels, die wirklichen Erfolg nur in Deutschland und den Niederlande hatten. Will sagen, die deutsche Seele mag die düsteren, melancholischen Sounds der Achtziger. - Peter
The Silence Kit "A Strange Labor"
Indie with Post-Punk sensibilities naturally suggest a keen intelligence with no chance of pudding basin haircuts and Sixties obsessions. Such is the case with Pennsylvania’s The Silence Kit, who are somewhere in that dream chamber that Adrian Borland insisted be constructed in his will and which sympathetic scientists brought to fruition.
It’s a curiously slender balance which keeps ‘Two Halves’ in motion mentally, the drums organic and close up to everything else, the light vocals wending their way through that basic power and the brightly insinuated guitar which returns with a recurring, pretty motif. ‘A New Disappointment’ is a touch rougher but also has a beautiful chorus which managed to be almost covered with melodic overspill throughout, the modest numbskulls. The vocals burst out like a wiggling leg through curtains, the music lurking further back, peeping over his shoulders during the luminous ‘Reassurement’ where they channel Joy Division easily, with some outright disgust and rejection.
‘Eight Years’ crackles slowly into life, a flame-grilled rumpus with eager guitar and all-knowing, superior singing with a circumspect drama in the arrangement. It snaps shut and ‘Am I Missing Something?’ is off and running, albeit in a relaxed manner with a succulent Cure influence caught in the pleasant tumult, although things are more naturalistic than Granny Smith, more basic, the guitar cajoling, the vocals deploring. ‘And If I Ever See You Again’ is similar but more troubled, trembly and touching. ‘Dry Summer’ seems a bit bland, even though it is nicely soppy, droopy vocals and dripping guitar united, then the vicious little ‘Linguist’ bustles along sharply, stampy and hot, a fissure in their psyche opening up.
‘You Can’t Be Serious’ is thicker and slicker, and gloomier, as more variety comes out of their casually shrouded sound, which shows how much depth they actually have as nothing which seems so easy ever is. ‘Geometric’ frays angrily, rawly, ‘Missing The Point’ sighs warmly, harmlessly, and ‘But This Remains’ shuffles off sleepily, and wait long enough for the hidden song to creepily, sleepily end a very smart, diligently noisy record that has nice lows and modest highs, as though situated between The Arid Sea and Bell Hollow (R.I.P.), so if that’s your thing you’ll be delighted. A dignity buffeted and remote reproach. We can all identify with that. - Mick Mercer
The Silence Kit "A Strange Labor"
"This Philadelphia four piece sounds as if they could have arrived from England in the early 1980’s. The Silence Kit takes the finest aspects of bands like the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen and adds just enough modern style to create a record that is both contemporary and honors the past. Patrick McCay carries the band through his voice, and he makes an immediate impact on “Two halves’, a dark, introspective song that starts the multi-faceted journey that is A Strange labor. “A New Disappointment’ and “Linguist’ will certainly gain the Robert Smith seal of approval, but this band does more than simply attempt to recreate the hey-day of true alternative music. The emotive “And If I Ever See You Again’ and “You Can’t Be Serious’ are both brooding, personal efforts with a lyrical content that could be found in any of Bob Mould’s notebooks, while “Missing the Point” actually ahs a country twang. My favorite of the bunch is the breathy, largely acoustic closer “But This Remains”, as not only does McCay shine, but his fellow guitarist Nick Franklin excels as well. The guys do reach back to the 80’s with the synth pop “Geometric’, but this again does not come across as a band stuck in an age of nostalgia, but the Silence Kit have found a sound that is largely non-existent right now and are embellishing upon it. There are elements of Goth and electro-pop, but A Strange Labor has a certain garage aesthetic about it that keeps this from becoming too processed. In all, a very cool little release and a nice surprise for me." - Rich Quinlan
The Silence Kit "A Strange Labor"
So many bands refuse to reveal their influences, presumably as a means of avoiding easy comparisons or accusations of imitation. In the case of Philadelphia’s The Silence Kit, they celebrate their post-punk influences and list many of the best bands from that area on their web site. Of course a great record collection doesn’t always equal a great band but The Silence Kit do their heroes justice even if they are unlikely to reach out beyond fans of their chosen genre.
Judging by ‘Two Halves’ they’ve lightened up since their 2006 debut but the song never really gets started; a real worry considering this is their opening gambit. Likewise, ‘Dry Summer’ sounds like watered-down indie. ‘A New Disappointment’ is a notable improvement but - thanks to McCay’s pained delivery - it comes across like a Cure pastiche. There’s a general air of resignation about ‘A Strange Labour’ which sometimes threatens to suffocate the listener. However, there is a flipside to this initially unpromising story.
Thankfully ‘Reassurement’ is free of cliche and full of the brooding intensity which made their first album a treat. Then the true moment of magnificence comes five tracks in. ‘Am I Missing Something’ features a great rumbling intro, skyscraping guitar from the House Of Love songbook and an urgent performance from McCay where even his cries of “Aah” towards the end of the record sound perfect. Not quite as brilliant but still great is ‘And If I Ever See You Again’ where once again the group bridge the gap between doominess and vitality. It’s hard not to admire the gloomy psychedelia of ‘You Can’t Be Serious’ where Echo And The Bunnymen’s Arabesque guitar sound is given a murky makeover and the dominant bassline of ‘Geometric’ has more than a hint of New Order about it.
As one can imagine, listening to these songs is like playing a game of “spot the musical reference” but it should certainly delight post-punk fans. What is more, The Silence Kit hit more than they miss, providing enough excitement to overcome the studied gloom.
The Silence Kit "A Strange Labor"
"The Silence Kit here on Local Support... If on the first Silence Kit record they won me over sounding a good bit like I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, on record number two they delve deeper into the back catalog of The Cure for maximum effect."
[Philadelphia City Paper]
The Silence Kit "A New Disappointment"
"...Following the self-loathing trend is The Silence Kit’s moody “A New Disappointment” — its crunchy opening chords could easily be mistaken for a piece of angsty alt-rock that dominated the airwaves more than a decade ago."
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
Patrick McCay is for all intents and purposes the Silence Kit, at least on the band's debut effort In Regulated Measure — and admittedly most of the time when one-man rock bands are mentioned one gets images of another power-pop obsessive recreating a long mummified sixties sound…again. Thankfully McCay has a different time to aim at reexploring, namely moody eighties post-punk and lower-key college rock of the day, something which the dark and shadowy cover art suggests nicely without actually being all gothed out. Similarly with the music, starting with "My Name is Another Room," with stark drums, quiet guitar and piano and McCay's understated, gentle croon/rasp leading into a brighter but no less intense second half, suddenly surging with energy worthy of prime Chameleons or the Sound. From there the album's seven songs make their attractively stripped-down, quietly tense way, though if there's a downside to the album it's the general sameness of McCay's approach throughout — having perfected a style w with prominent bass and drums, gentle keyboard and just enough guitar, much of In Regulated Measure lives up to its name by not going beyond those bounds. As a result songs like "Sea of My Discretion" almost function better as individual efforts rather than heard as part of a whole, and even louder brawlers like "Shake and Tremble" and "Trying Not To" tend to up the volume more than disrupt the steady flow throughout. Things vary more towards the end, happily: "Dancing to Me" deserves notice, though, for its buried, muffled drums and almost dreamy pace, while the predominantly acoustic guitar/vocal "Ten Miles Off" is compelling much like similar songs by Cranes circa Forever were. McCay's abilities are in place to explore the form and try something different for the future, but In Regulated Measure is at least an attractive souvenir for where he has started. - Ned Raggett
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
"This Philadelphia foursome make austere music to stargaze by, deliberately melodic and melancholic, centering around Patrick McCay’s dry, Michael Gira-ish voice. Their debut album “In Regulated Measure” (2006) deftly recalls the splendor of Echo and the Bunnymen, as well as Television, Sonic Youth, and Psychedelic Furs."
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
This Philly/So. Jersey group plays dark, moody rock with a nod towards the goth/noise bands of the early 80's. Sonic Youth has pretty much morphed into a pop band these days but Silence Kit recreates the sludgy tempos, stormy waves of percussion and guitar, and spooky vocals of landmark bands like the Swans and early SY. Modern synth and production keep this sounding fresh rather than retro, but this still reminds me of the ear-abusing post-punk bands that persuaded a pre-emo generation of moody teens to paint their fingernails black and slab on the mascara.
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
In recent times, so many American bands have discovered that it's possible to re-create the darkness of the post-punk times and make it more palatable by adding pristine production and chunky melodic riffs. In these terms, The Silence Kit are strictly "old school" and a more authentic throwback to the early 80s; they would have almost certainly been signed to Factory records if they had been around at the time. They begin brilliantly with 'My Name Is Another Room'; chiefly remarkable for its stunning, aggressive coda. The thick beats and distorted vocals on 'Shake And Tremble' and 'Dancing To Me' are also of great merit. Yet despite the bleak retro noises they make their closest comparisons would be Calla, with whom they share a passion for a very bruised and studied form of paranoia.
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
"This 7 track CD by The Silence Kit certainly sounds familiar even upon the first listening. Yet, it is completely something new at the same time. It's like when you hear something familiar but you can't quite put your finger on why it sounds as familiar as it does. Careful listening will reveal varied aspects of influences from bands like Joy Division, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, and maybe even a bit of The Swans. There is still something I cannot quite put my mental finger on, but this is something that will appeal to anyone moved by the barer forms of Gothic rock from the early punk ages. There is something raw and disturbing yet very beautifully revealing within the chords and rhythms of The Silence Kit. Patrick McCay, founder, lead guitarist, and keyboardist for the band, has definitely tapped into the emotional isolation portrayed by the early forms of his genre. However, he has updated the sound a bit with modern electronics but no so much that you would lose the raw, earthy tonality of the DYI rock band sound."
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
"The vocals immediately strike out with their deep and darkly coated melody that sound just to the left of Nick Cave. Electronic keyboards, soaring guitars, tribal drums and gothic vibes that remind one of lost b-sides by Joy Division and The Cure encircle whispering some deadly intentions that you can only barely get an iota of their breadth. Ever wondered what would be playing in your head as you drift off into a coma? It's "Burst Lethargic", with no puns intended, something that Type O Negative would dub romantic. Fantastic."
[Our Friend The Atom Recordings]
The Silence Kit "In Regulated Measure"
"It sounds very creepy, almost ominous... This would be like the music from Lost Highway or some David Lynch type movie. I just picture someone listening to this song while driving along a dark road in the desert... a Nick Cave feel to it... his vocals almost sound like 70s era David Bowie - where its like that Thin White Duke persona..."
[Schallgrenzen] in Germany
Song of the Week on a German Music Blog
"Der Song der Woche kommt von der Band The Silence Kit aus Philadelphia. Beim ersten hören des Song “A New Disappointment” von dem demnächst erscheinenden zweiten Album “A Strange Labor” fielen mir als erstes The Cure ein. Aber auch Bands aus den Achzigern wie The Chameleons sind ihnen nicht unbekannt. Aus diesem Grund ist die 2002 gegründete Band auch irgendwo zwischen Post-Punk, Shoegaze und dunklem Indie-Rock einzuordnen. Ein schöner zeitloser Song."
[Rockmillieu] in Germany (transalated)
The Silence Kit on a German Podcast
"The band is called The Silence Kit. I (the host of the show) have been a Cure fan for a long, long time. The singer, Patrick McCay sounds like a young Robert Smith. The tune is very much like a Robert Smith song. The accompaniment is very quiet and beautiful. I like it a lot. The band is also on my homepage and there are three or four songs to download..."
[Radio RAG] in Spain
The Silence Kit on a Spanish Podcast
"THE SILENCE KIT no son los mismos rusos sino un cuarteto americano de tambin extraordinaria calidad. Ms cercanos al slowcore pero con temazos que quitan el hipo. En este mes de Noviembre editan su lbum de debut "In Regulated Measure" que ya podrs escuchar la prxima semana en EasyListening by MAC. Arrebatadores sin ms."
The Silence Kit song review: "Fifty Things To Do"
"Usually I give songs a few listens when Im reviewing , but I didnt want to listen to this song again. Not because it was bad or anything, but it had a real downer vibe about it and I just didnt want to go down there with it. So if thats what they wanted to achieve they hey, I guess they succeeded. It just left me with an empty feeling inside.
If I was an actor and had to prepare for a really intense gloomy scene then I would listen to this. this is real suicide soundtrack, this stuff."