I don't buy into press releases. Thus, when I read the release that came with this album saying: "the Silent Type plan to embark on tours throughout the United States in support of their glorious achievement", you can understand why I thought it was one of the many hyperboles or downright lies that music promoters spit out. Ironically enough, however, whoever was in charge of writing The Silent Type's press release was not far off when they labeled this album as a "glorious achievement" and said this album tapped "the canon of iconic indie rock influences for beautiful melodicism".
The band describes themselves as a "six-piece indie/folk/orchestral rock band", but although every member displays their talents on this album, there is no doubt the genius behind this act lies behind Nathan Altice, who originally started out doing the whole singer/songwriter thing in 2000 (I highly recommend going to their website and downloading Nathan's older acoustic work). Reminding me of Elliott Smith with the guitar work, yet intensely more cheerful, reflective, and meaningful vocals bring a much more lasting sound that will not grow wearisome. I actually cannot recall hearing more poetic lyrics in secular music, and when I rummaged around the artfully done lyric booklet I thought I was reading excerpts from classic pieces of literature until I realized they were indeed the lyrics.
Incredibly artful guitar-work, song composition that melodiously and wonderfully includes a host of instruments, and varied vocals that are always competent are why I foresee this outstanding piece of indie rock lasting a considerable test of time.
"the frivolous insignificance of language, the suspension of images must be the very space of love, its music." -Roland Barthes.
I found this quotation imbedded in a sea of profound words that made up The Silent Type's lyrics. It takes someone miraculously intelligent who lives their life with such an incredible amount of depth and desire for learning to come up with an array of poetry and prose as mind numbing as this. It's an exploration into the fundamentals of language, its power and its beauty. It's a transcendental take on the use of words in our lives that sums it all up in the last two lines of "Ink and Blood," which read, "The few chapters not yet done will come. Don't rush these words along, the words will come." The Silent Type uses relaxed and simple folk rock melodies to allow their words, the true inspiration in their music, to really shine. However, they do so in a way that the listener is left slightly disappointed, craving as much adventure in the instrumentation as they're granted vocally.
The Silent Type combines male and female vocals which compliment each other very well with acoustic guitar and a slew of other instruments to form an almost Bright Eyes-like sound just without any crying and more optimistic and intellectually explorative lyrics. The title track, "Of Writing Of Violence," is the signature song on this album and at over six minutes long, it is a narrative covering true beauty, silence, art and love. I'm going to take some time to write out a chunk of it because it deserves to be written:
"I came across a writer pouring prose to a page. He said this pen could move a mountain with a simply structured couplet anchored by a clever rhyme. And quietly he tried but no words came to mind. Suddenly he was shook from recognition that his silence was more moving and more beautiful than any verse it rivaled, and each word that dared to pierce it was proclaimed an act of violence toward the signified that his pen hoped to find. But then his lips burst wife, breeched by the aching pride that made him loudly cry, there is nothing left to say."
I thoroughly appreciated this album. I think we need a new genre of music, and I'm going to call it "Intellectual Rock." Hey, maybe it'll stick! What I'm trying to say is that the people who made this obviously spend too much time pondering and questioning life, and while that's not a bad thing, it creates an effect where the only people who are going to really enjoy it are those who do the same. The deep thinkers and the heavy drinkers.