Review: The Silent League – Of Stars And Other Somebodies

The Silent League took the dreamy Americana sounds of Mercury Rev and removed some of the psychedelic elements, replacing them with 70s soft-rock stylings. It worked superbly for first album ‘The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused’ but I’m not quite so enamoured with its follow-up; a very “nice” sounding album yet not half as dreamy as its predecessor.

The Silent League CD Cover

Mainman Justin Russo has a fine voice, which is certainly a cleaner instrument than his ex-Mercury Rev colleague Jonathan Donahue, yet when listening to ‘Kings & Queens’ the vocal arrangements reminded me of Chicago’s Peter Cetera. Musically it’s all sumptuously put together, each brass instrument and piano key obviously thought out in finest detail, its peak emerging on the lovely warm melodies for ‘Let It Roll’; a song cut from the same cloth as a Carpenters record whereas the uncomplicated ‘Untied’ could have come from their own last record. ‘Out Of Reach’ stands out from the pack too, as the music takes on a layer of menace and it’s probably no coincidence that it sounds more like a Mercury Rev track. Yet for the rest of the album I wasn’t quite so moved as I was last time around, largely because the tunes themselves aren’t quite so memorable and occasionally the AOR sentiments descend into blandness.

Web Sites:
The Silent League Official Site
The Silent League MySpace

Further Listening:
Mercury Rev, The Carpenters

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