The Boston band Silver Screams are, to my mind, an honorary harDCore band. Band member Sean Koepenick was in Sleeper Agent! with John Stabb after all, and the band's music offers up a nice mix of post-Revolution Summer-style punk that blends the emotion and energy of those early Dischord acts with a bit of East Coast attitude. The band is set to drop a new album, Defective Machines, next Friday and the release is full of the kind of furious riffs I'd be wise to highlight here in this brief review.
"Dead Air" kicks things off with a blast of raw energy that treads a line between hardcore punk and metal, while "Moscow" confirms the power of this Boston act. "Brownbagger" is pure adrenaline, while "Mean Something" is lean muscle, early Misfits mixed with a dose of Black Flag. Elsewhere, "Straightjacket" offers up early SST Records-style punk, while "Freak Show" very nearly sounds like a cut from a John Stabb-fronted project, if not a Government Issue side then maybe a Factory Incident number. And, in a way, that makes sense since it's a cover of an old punk standard by Boston band The Freeze, an act that probably played a stage or two with G.I. back in the day, one imagines. The version here is one of the highlights of this release from Silver Screams.
However, it is the covers on Defective Machines that really won this listener over. A brutally effective run at "Disorder" by Joy Division seems to get at the heart of the song more than most bands have when covering any Ian Curtis-penned number. If this band's run at this venerable Joy Division nugget is a pretty simple and pure modern distillation of the appeal of the musicianship of the song's composers, the Silver Screams version of "Crocodiles" by Echo and the Bunnymen is a riskier proposition, the band treading into the territory of material decidedly less direct and punk-y. That they succeed so well at making this oddity from the Liverpool legends thoroughly their own is pretty darn impressive.
Defective Machines by Silver Screams will be out on Friday. It is the sort of thing that will surely please fans of the perennially classic sort of hardcore punk found on this release.
[Photo: Keith Pierce]