Arrivals and Departures

Silverstein - Arrivals and Departures

To say I have a slight interest in Silverstein is somewhat of an understatement. It started with When Broken Is Easily Fixed. Back then, we saw a much more volatile band — perhaps verging more on screamo bands of the past like Heroin or Indian Summer rather than adhering to the number of other growing styles within the genre at the turn of the century. Despite this, there are some dead-set on railing these guys for various things simply because of their association with Victory. I’d love to sidestep into that crowd, but I can’t erase that feeling of “oh, this is something” I had when first hearing the song “November”. Come time for a third proper full-length, however, Silverstein are significantly more comfortable in the scene they’ve gradually become a staple within. Veering away from the seemingly no-limit hardcore the band grew up getting a feel for, they’ve instead implanted a sort of pop/post-hardcore venture within the confines of Arrivals and Departures

Whether it spawns from Silverstein’s killer list of influences or something thats less of a stretch, this band just does something right. I’d figure the band’s perpetual use of catchy elements, commonly found in choruses, and their outright post-hardcore composure would be an abrasive combination. However, Arrivals and Departures sees the band pull it off nearly flawlessly. This is not to say Silverstein is the second-coming, but its refreshing for me to find a band with “Screamo” listed under the genre assortment in Myspace that doesn’t turn me in the other direction almost immediately. 

There is something almost cringe-worthy about the lyrical element in the album, though. Vocalist Shane Told gets more shit as a vocalist than a lyricist, which is almost laughable considering I have much less of a problem with his singing capability than his ability to write a verse that doesn’t come off as “this has been said a million times before”. Told is able to carry a chorus quite well this time around, actually. “Worlds Apart” finds him do just that towards the last half of the song, that furthers the notion that not all of the meat of Arrivals and Departures lies just in those two or three single-worthy tracks. The album holds some other surprises in the vocal department, such as a notable gangchant in “My Disaster” and several well-placed screams from either Shane or bassist Bill Hamilton (I can never tell which one is doing it, unfortunately). The above are all perfectly mixed and produced. In fact, the entire album is. There’ll always be a knitpicker in the crowd disagreeing about production, but seriously, the casual listener won’t have a second thought about Trombino’s work this time around. 

Silverstein could have done a bit more to help differentiate this album from Discovering the Waterfront, but all in all Arrivals and Departures is a thoroughly more satisfying than the 2005 full-length. “Sound of the Sun” and “If You Could See Into My Soul” are both fantastic songs and sort of hallmarks of the band’s growth since we last heard from them. Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford display an improved in both the technical/progressive (“If You Could See Into My Soul”) and low-tempo amble (“True Romance”) styles. Paul Koehler and Bill Hamilton make up quite an underrated rhythm section. It’s neither florid nor bombastic, but they get the job done with a sort of flair all their own. The album is better for it because even if you’re only five songs in on your first spin of the album, you’ll notice its an attention-grabbing set of songs that ultimately make up a more rewarding listen than Discovering the Waterfront

Arrivals and Departures may not be album-of-the-year worthy by any means, but its a solid album that is without a doubt Silverstein’s best to date. We’ve seen the band slowly grow out of their hardcore roots into a pop-tinged post-hardcore prodigy, and I’m glad I’ve seen the progression since I was first coaxed by a friend into buying their debut. Victory has put out some great albums by bands like 1997 and The Junior Varsity this year, and now that we’ve seen what Silverstein can do this time around — let’s ease up, eh? Hostility in a scene as fragile as this one is something best avoided. Regardless, I think this is the Silverstein everyone has been waiting to hear since we first heard how promising they were some four years ago.

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