Review Summary: I open you like a book, the pages are all wet...
Silver Sun were a power-pop punk band that plied their trade during the closing days of the mid-to-late nineties trend of Britpop. The UK band garnered quite a lot of critical acclaim with this, their eponymous debut album. Despite the acclaim however, the band is mostly remembered as something of a one hit wonder, having scored a minor but memorable hit single with 'Lava' back in 1996. After the collapse of the Britpop craze, the band soon faded from the spotlight and entered obscurity.
When this album was released back in 1997, I hated it. I had loved 'Lava' like everybody else, so I picked up the LP and was quickly repelled. Having been weened on pansy Britpop bands such as Blur, Gene and Pulp, I was ill-equipped to deal with the savage guitars on this record. It was too loud, too relentless, too sunny and too one note. If the desire to hear 'Lava' again hadn't reared it's ugly head, I probably would have never revisited Silver Sun.
As I'm quite happy listening to stuff like Daughters or Rolo Tomossi recently, the guitar growl is no longer a problem. Obviously. But the production still remains impressive from a contemporary standpoint. The guitars on this thing still leaves most of it's peers languishing in a cloud of punk hued dust. likewise, the layered Beach Boys style vocals also impress. They burst out of the mix in delightful ways, always bringing the sun with them.
Although I enjoy this album much more now then when I was 16, I still don't love it. A lot of the critisms that I had back then still hold up. Namely the record being too cluttered, relentless and one note. Individually, most of the songs are pretty decent. Singles like 'Julia' or 'Golden Skin' bounce along with punk glee, sounding not unlike something that Jeff Rosenstock would put out. However, while the individual quality on offer here rarely drops below pleasant, the problem is that every song tries to do exactly the same thing. They all bluster away for about three minutes or so, throwing out very similar power chords and harmonies with little to no conception of variety. It all gets too much by the end. Late album tracks like 'Wonderful', 'This n' That' and 'Yellow Light' become indistinct and tedious due to their similarity to, well, pretty much everything else on the record. Attention inevitably starts to wander as the album progresses.
Another problem is the lack of interesting lyrics. Nothing has much meaning on this LP. It's simply a record all about the joys of getting jiggy with girls. Yawn. She has golden skin, she looks so hot, I can't wait to get into her pants... Blah, blah, blah. I guess I'm not 16 anymore. You know a record has questionable wordsmithing when the most memorable lyric is either a repeated chorus of "Let me out of this can of beans" or "I open you like a book / the pages are all wet / little girls so sweet / the smell of their bedrooms". Ew. Dude. That's just not right.
I'm hammering this LP pretty hard here, but there are some good things about it. As I have already mentioned, the individual song quality is decent but there are also a few exceptional moments that peak above the clouds. The penultimate track 'Noboby' stands out as a beautiful power ballad that brings a much needed change of tone. It makes you wish there were more tunes of this ilk on the record. Then of course, there is 'Lava'. That pristine-perfect, thunderously exciting pop-punk masterpiece of a song. If you haven't heard that one, go track it down. It's a truly awesome tune and still the main reason to listen to Silver Sun.
Ultimately, Silver Sun's debut still remains a bit of a washout. 'Lava' is a lot of boisterous fun and a few other cuts might dig their claws in, but this LP is far too samey and overly cluttered to heartily recommend.