Music fans are usually faced with quite the dilemma when they are looking forward to a new record, especially if it’s coming from a band they’re particularly fond of. Do you want them to evolve – perhaps taking a leap to something you might not enjoy as much – or do you want them to stay…consistent? For the most part, the consensus seems to be that bands need to evolve to stay relevant. Grow with their audience, as some might say. Some bands do just fine by staying static, though. Look at New Found Glory: a consistent sound has lead them to become perhaps the greatest pop punk band ever. When they strayed a bit, on Coming Home, fans were generally displeased.
Silverstein is another band that has utilized a tried-and-true formula throughout its career, and Rescue, the band’s fifth studio album and debut for Hopeless Records, sees the Canadians doing more of the same. While the band won many over with its 2005 breakout, Discovering the Waterfront, fans of the band seemed to either grow more loyal or completely become disinterested when Arrivals and Departures and A Shipwreck In The Sand showcased similar sounds. The latter was Silverstein’s last record, a concept album which I considered to be fairly underrated.
As a whole, Rescue won’t do much to sway those who aren’t already fans of Silverstein. As a reviewer, it’s against my personal creed to say this, but there isn’t really a better way to put it in this situation: fans of Silverstein will like this record, while non-fans plainly won’t. Rescue is certainly highlighted by its quality tracks, but there is unfortunately a fair amount of filler in what proves to be a merely decent release by this band. Opener “Medication” follows the style of past Silverstein opening tracks, with a meant-to-be-epic buildup. The song is an enjoyable one and it’s definitely one of the songs on the record listeners will find themselves coming back to.
Silverstein’s core sound, as I’ve said before, is back in full force. Vocalist Shane Told still balances his high clean vocals with bloodcurling screams, but a point that should be made about Rescue is that there may be less screaming here than on Silverstein’s past releases. There is still screaming in nearly every track, but it just seems like Told’s cleaner vocals are more prevalent on the record. While the opener and “Sacrifice,” which we are familiar with from the band’s Transitions EP, won’t convince you that there’s less screaming, “Forget Your Heart” and “Good Luck With Your Lives” might.
The best tracks on Rescue are the ones where Told lets his screaming unfold, as “Intervention” and “The Artist” prove to be standouts. The latter is a positively fiery, blistering track featuring Brendon Murphy of Counterparts, with plenty of breakdowns to go around. This is where Silverstein shines – in a controlled chaotic setting where Told is letting out screams over heavily distorted guitars. “Texas Mickey” is another highlight, perhaps my favorite track on the record, and it features the biggest curveball on Rescue in a guest appearance by Anthony Raneri of Bayside. Raneri’s immediately identifiable vocals mesh surprisingly well with Told’s heavier ones, making for a sweet bridge/outro.
The biggest misstep on Rescue is returning “Darling Harbour” to the tracklist from theTransitions EP. I personally hoped this song would be left behind, as it comes across as watered-down and rehashed. Aside from there being no screaming, the lyrics aren’t Told’s best work by any stretch of the imagination. Luckily, Silverstein rebounds strongly with the pounding “Live To Kill” and closer “In Memory Of…” The former is a barn-burner, while the closer takes longer to kick in but rounds out the record in a worthy fashion.
All in all, Rescue isn’t about to turn many heads or convert many new fans. Maybe Silverstein will attract different listeners by releasing this album with Hopeless, but this work isn’t as stellar as previous releases from this band. In the end it’s exactly as I said earlier: those who already like Silverstein will certainly enjoy this record. However, maybe it’s time for the band to reinvent its sound a little bit, to find a new, fresh angle to work. Their formula has proven that it can sell records, but how long can that last? While previous fans, like myself, may always find something worthy in a Silverstein release, an industry that is ever-changing and an audience with a consistently short attention span may leave this band behind if it can’t keep up.