Recent single, Girlfriend, more than intimated that the new album from Australian outfit The Silverbeets would be a singularly intriguing and maybe unique proposition. The swift release of Halcyon Days after has confirmed its suggestion was right on the money, though the song which teased as it pleasured only gave a glimpse of the adventure within the quartet’s captivating full-length.
Hailing from Hobart, Tasmania and emerging in 2014, The Silverbeets have a sound which is as eclectic within its own skin as it is within the band’s new album. It is a proposition which has blossomed into its own identity from seeds found in the inspirations of outfits such as Pink Floyd, The Byrds, David Bowie, Radiohead, The Pixies, Queen, Fleet Foxes, Simon & Garfunkel, Nick Cave and Neil Young, among others. Similarly XTC has been a rich incitement to the foursome of Farnz Cordeaux (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jamie Scott (lead guitar, vocals), Nigel Hope (bass) and Bill O’Brien (drums), with producer and multi-instrumentalist Ernie Oppenheimer described as a “5th member”, though Halcyon Days within its diversity more strongly teases thoughts of bands like Split Enz, Oingo Boingo, and They Might be Giants. Even so The Silverbeets have potent individuality and it is in full flow from the first seconds of the release.
We Mattered (Once Upon a Time) quickly swings with the senses, its instinctive infectiousness unsheltered as it swiftly flows through the body of song and listener alike. There is a teasing restraint to it though which escalates the temptation as melodies and vocals unite in a warm stroll around firmly enticing rhythms. It is a captivating start to the album, one which had ears and appetite immediately and greedily involved before Cool, Like David Suzuki echoed its success. There is something of a Fred Schneider meets Brian Brain hue to the track, a mischievous essence adding to the enticing creative diablerie of The Silverbeets.
Girlfriend steps in within the electronic bubble of Oppenheimer’s keys, the compelling stroll of bass and guitar adding to the instant temptress borne seduction. Each twist of its body brings a new aspect to the sound and captivation, the trombone of Kevin Barker heating up the funk and pop antics of the noir lit romance. It provides a fascinating, eventful and beguiling three and a half minutes before You Still Look So Beautiful offers up its own ear romancing incitement. Lively yet calmly reflective within virtually the same breath, the song is another which simply captivated especially as corruptive shadows and dark drama brews.
There is a dark realm to the following Unnatural Selection too though one of shamanic germination as highlighted in the rhythms shaping its canter. Accuser and tempter, the song quickly burrowed under the skin, an imposing whiff of Midnight Oil adding to its irresistible trespass. Jazzy in its atmospheric, progressive in its intent and addictive in its magnetism, the song easily took favourite song honours.
Though uniquely different, Never Trust The Government proved just as naggingly persuasive, its hook a slim but rich niggle around which the vocals of Cordeaux and Scott, as their guitars, glowed and shimmered. The fusion of radiant warmth and firm lyrical insight cast another transfixing proposal which the rhythmic prowess and invention of Hope and O’Brien only fuelled further while all four united in more salacious devilment for the jazz funk honed Sexy Ted, a kind of Phat Phunktion meets David Byrne escapade which again held us in a grip of pleasure.
One Melody completes the album, wrapping ears and body up in a summer saunter whilst embracing ska and reggae flavours to its pop ice cream. Gently but richly anthemic, the song was again undiluted pleasure burrowing under the skin.
Halcyon Days is an album which will inspire a broad smile and the instinctive fun inside us all even in these spirit dousing times, but more than that it is one fresh and unique adventure; all reasons to go explore.
Halcyon Days is out now; available @ https://thesilverbeets.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 07/01/2021