Debut albums are rarely this immediately endearing, but when you make excellent dreamscape rock, such as what Silver Bars have created here on Center of the City Lights, it finds a way to pull you in. The Austin, Texas four-piece are led by vocalist and guitarist Paula J. Smith, and her confident vocal delivery allows the rest of the group to fill out the wall-of-sound that encompasses the majority of the record. Much like other dream pop-bands such as Beach House, Silver Bars have created sonic musical landscapes with cranked up guitars to help them stand apart.
The 10-track album is filled with lush sounding rock songs, and the band sounds as confident as ever in their delivery. Led by the single, “Lost You to L.A.” Silver Bars’ introduction to the music world allows the listener to come along for the ride with favorable results in the listening experience. The dual-guitar attack from Smith and Ken Hatten is the band’s real strength, as they know exactly when to crank up the sound, or allow a song to brood for a bit. Rounding out the unit is the ultra-talented bassist Stephen Thurman and drummer Johnny Wilkins.
Other standout tracks apart from the single are the Cure-sounding song “Put On Your Face,” and the engaging album closer “Spirit Guides.” On the former, their talented guitarists tell a story through their music, while Smith’s vocals allow for the track to hum along with just the right amount of bravado. As far as the closer, “Spirit Guides” is a song that does a great job of summarizing the material that has come before and serves as a friendly reminder of the music the band is capable of creating.
Silver Bars are indeed onto something special, and at times are teetering on the cusp of musical greatness. 2019 should be a special year for the band, and I look forward to seeing how their experiences on tour performing these songs will spark further creative evolution on the subsequent albums.