Review Summary: What a truly unbelievable album. Killer hooks, poignant lyrics, and a recurring emotional theme that is easily related to.
It's going to be difficult to review this album with an impartial stance, as I truly believe that this is my favourite album of all time.
'Under the Silver of Machines' is not a completely new album from 2005's 'Transmission: Skyline' debut for the boys from Orlando, as many of the songs are remastered versions of songs from that previous record, however, I will review them according to this interpretation rather than their previous incarnations.
Last Winter are a 5 peice alternative rock outfit comprising of Ian on Vocals, Fro and Josh on Guitar, Bo on Bass and Chris on drums rounding out the rythym sextion.
'Cassiopeia' starts of the record as a short intro, setting the tone for the album, with the short lyric burst describing the album to about love lost, love found, and finally love ending.
'You throw your diamonds in the sky tonight... You always leave a trail of stars for me to follow... You're everywhere but I can't find you...'
A good intro and leads seamlessly into 'The Violent Things,' a good song containing LW's now famous echoing lyrics and driving chorus guitars and catchy hooks. Perhaps not one of the strongest songs on the album, but continues to set the tone for the upbeat start of the album.
Next comes 'A Pacific Romance,' one of the strongest songs on the album, with poignant lyrics and tantalising hooks. It really is the first display of LW's outstanding amount of musical cohesion within the group. The harmonies in the chorus display this as good as anything else on the album.
'I called your name through sunsets but you never noticed... Your eyes were always closed...'
Almost emo in their lyrics, but not so much in their delivery.
'Kiss So Hard' hits next, and is a return to the speed and intensity of 'The Violent Things,' yet with softer verse lyrics, but killer chorus hooks. Try and listen to it a few times and not start going 'Whoa oh whoa oh' mid-chorus. Lyrics seem to follow a story, in keeping with the theme of the album. 'Girl Next Door' is another one of the stronger songs on the album, with stratospheric vocals accompanying an eerie yet fitting guitar line. Drums here drive the song along nicely, and more echoing vocals in the chorus. 'Standing Here' is up next. Maybe not my favourite song on the album, however it is not terrible. It is a little different in terms of rythym... However I don't really enjoy it as much as other songs on the album. 'Our Summer in Illinois' is next, and brings the album back on track, with pulsating beats and energetic vocals, as well as a melodic dual guitar attack, and a fine progressive verse/chorus structure.
'Made for TV' seems to be exactly what it's name suggests. This band came into popularity after appearing on MTV programs such as Laguna Beach and The Hills, which are seemingly about rich children complaining about being rich and attractive. This song.. It just seems to reek of it. I'm not sure I am just being pessimistic because such TV shows are to me, the anti-christ, Suddam Hussein and the Jonas Sisters combined, but I don't like this song much.
'Don't Forget to Write' is another step in a slower direction for the album, leaving the listener wondering about the structure to the second half of the album. You expect this song to launch into a huge chorus... However, it isn't until after a harmonic passage a minute from the end of the song that it seems to hit a sense of urgency. It just sort of ambles along. The thing that saves this song from becoming part of the scenery is the lyrics, which are both heartfelt and soothing.
'Chasing Lights' is the next song on the album, and to say that this is one of the finest songs that I have ever heard is faint praise. I am not even sure why I enjoy this song so much. It's not particularly technical or difficult, but it's just the driving prechorus, the insane vocal work from Ian, and the angst-ridden lyrics. 180 plays on the top of my iTunes top 25 and this song still doesn't fail to put goosebumps on my skins and a flutter in my stomach. To pick one line of lyric to print here would be a disrespect to each of the others.
'...Since you left home seems further away then when you were here... and you see it now what could be but you chose to forget it, so forget it...'
Unbelievable and emotional, with a fine breakdown coda going into the final stanza. The use of hamonizing barely heard vocals in the chorus also adds to the eeriness of the chorus. Best song on the album, giving this album one of the finest closing passages of songs I have ever heard.
Keeping with that is the easiest song on the album to get into, 'Starlight Drive,' a song about lost love and longing for the past.
"...We were better off when we were ignorant and dreaming on Starlight Drive... (Ingnorance is bliss, so let it go...")
Amazing stuff and backed by capable and intriguing harmonies, both vocally and instrumentally. Also good use of double bass to continue the progressive nature of the pre, chorus, and postchorus.
To close the album, LW chose 'Vela To Norma' a pulsating 6 minute epic with vocals that sometimes prickle the skin with their intensity and point towards a harder side of the band. A closing worthy of an album that discusses such heavily branched emotional turmoil.
"...Cascades build as they light the way to open hearts, so let's go... So shut your eyes now, tonight we'll bring you back too..."
It may sound as though I am using gushing tones[sic] to discuss this album, but I can't even begin to describe how much I love it. I implore you to try this band out, especially songs such as 'A Pacific Romance' 'Chasing Lights' and 'Our Summer In Illinois.' Listened to separately they are astounding, listened to seamlessly as a whole album they are simply sublime. Don't let the stigma of MTV darlings detract you from this bands intensity, both musically and emotionally.
Amazing Lyrics and Vocals
Killer hooks and choruses.
Can sound slightly over-produced and glossy
Rating: a resounding 5/5.