Review Summary: Hardly treading new ground, but an excellent follow-up nonetheless.
Studio bands are a rare breed these days. The so-called crisis in the music industry makes sure that young bands are forced to go on the road, if they want to make a living out of their hobby. This usually leads to the phenomenon of: band records an album, tours with it, goes back in the studio to record a follow-up, repeat. The result is fairly predictable: tired musicians and writing blocks for the next recording session. Or sometimes, positive effects can be found too.
After releasing Set Your Head On Fire, The Black Box Revelation toured almost non-stop for 2 years straight. With each performance, the sound of the band toughened and got more wild and intense. They matured and found the direction in which they would head their song structures; trying to capture their live sound on their sophomore album Silver Threats.
The lads were still wet behind the ears, when they recorded their debut. So while they incorporated a bluesy lick here and there on Set Your Head On Fire, it was for the most part a straightforward (mainstream) rock album. Here, however, Paternoster and Van Dijck fully embrace the blues, which is already evident on the album opener High On A Wire
. Paternoster doesn't sing anymore, he yells and howls. The guitar sound is reminiscent of The Stooges, with lots of mucky distortion drowning the main riff. Elsewhere, 5 O'Clock Turn Back The Time
could be credited to the early Stones, with its sleazy piano bits that emerge on the latter half of the song.
Most of the songs are straightforward, but on tracks like Where Has All This Mess Begun
, something resembling a solo or an improvised guitar loop suddenly pops up, delivering needed variation in sound. Paternoster has claimed this song to be "the single best thing I ever wrote", although, in reality, nothing on the record is as instantly classic as the title track of their debut. The runner-up, however, is definitely Love Licks
, which takes its title pretty literal: the song breaths sex throughout, and is one smeared-out, blues infused burner, straight from the Louisiana Swamplands (no offence to the locals).
Why change a winning team/theme? This must have been the thought-process while writing Sleep While Moving
and Our Town Has Changed For Years Now
. Being almost carbon copies of Never Alone/Always Together
(a huge hit in Belgium), they are fairly interesting, but nothing that hasn't been done before. That's something that holds for the whole album, actually.
This will be the thing that lets you decide if you should get this or not: does the fact that this all has been done before (even better, by some) bother you or do you rate this album purely on what it presents and does good, namely delevering no-frills, in-your-face rock 'n roll attitude? This aside, Silver Threats has turned out to be a more than decent sophomore effort and one that assures the creative spark in these young fellows is still flickering as bright as ever.