When Broken Is Easily Fixed


Looking back 15 years from Silverstein’s debut album is an interesting experiment, now knowing all of the great work they have put forth since. When Broken is Easily Fixed was a compilation of the band’s early EPs, Summer’s Stellar Gaze (2000) and When the Shadows Beam (2002), that were re-recorded for Victory Records under the tutelage of producer Justin Koop. The LP itself went on to sell over 200,000 units, far surpassing any expectations.

I first discovered Silverstein when my college roommate told me I needed to check out this new band on Victory Records named after a children’s book author (Shel Silverstein). That first song he played for me was “Bleeds No More.” I was immediately drawn into the aggressiveness of the track, from the dual-guitar attack of Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford, to the carefully placed screams of Shane Told, the track just clicked. Then as I began to investigate the other songs on When Broken is Easily Fixed, I became drawn to songs such as “Red Light Pledge” and “Wish I Could Forget You,” each with their own personalities and intricate guitar work, precise drumming, and incredible hooks. I really appreciated what Silverstein was aiming for on this release, and I knew that this band in particular was going to do something great in their career.

Turns out, I was pretty accurate with this assessment, as Discovering the Waterfront (2005) became one of my all-time favorite “screamo” records, if not an all-time favorite all-together. To truly appreciate When Broken is Easily Fixed, you need to understand that Silverstein were just scraping the surface of their potential as a band and artists. The hooks that they wrote on their debut record were strong, yet on their sophomore release, they blew all expectations for their band out of the water with a more cautious approach to the sing/scream dynamic and the overall improvement to their songwriting. Songs such as “Smile in Your Sleep” and “My Heroine” were songs that I wish I had written, as I was blown away by their polished sound that sounded better than I ever dreamed the band could become.

Looking back to When Broken is Easily Fixed, you can hear these unique and fascinating “crumbs” and clues of what the band was going to be capable of when they met their full potential. Records such as Dead Reflection (2017) showcased exactly what would happen when the band was clicking on all cylinders, and reminded me why I fell in love with Silverstein in the first place. Some of these clues I am referencing are songs such as the opener, “Smashed Into Pieces,” remind me of the aggressiveness found in tracks such as Dead Reflection’s “Ghost” and “Retrograde.” Other “Easter eggs,” per se, found on their debut are songs like the title track and “The Weak and the Wounded” remind me a lot of the sheen found on A Shipwreck in the Sand’s “Vices” and “Born Dead.” The hardcore-styled songs of the “call and response” play off each other brilliantly, and are meant to engage a live audience right from the first note.

For a band that was named after a child author that they adored as kids, they surely have matured into one of the more reliable artists in our scene by putting out album-after-album of brilliant material. Sure, there may have been some “growing pains” records in their discography such as Arrivals & Departures as well as Rescue, but if the band had not had the patience to learn from these experiences, we would not have seen amazing records that we adore such as A Shipwreck in the Sand and Dead Reflection. By looking back, we can learn a lot about who we were as people before, while still maintaining our “True North” of where we want to go moving forward. Silverstein is a band that have taken their lumps, but with each punch, they come back five times as strong with incredible records that will stand the test of time in our scene.