New Orleans garage-psych outfit Silver Synthetic have released their debut Out Of The Darkness EP, out today digitally via Third Man Records. Watch the newly-released music video for "Unchain Your Heart" HERE, and stream the EP HERE. Stay tuned for a brand new LP, coming next year via Third Man.
In the midst of the thick New Orleans summer of 2017, Chris Lyons of garage punks Bottomfeeders found himself sitting on a small batch of songs that didn’t quite fit the fuzzed-out pileups of that band. The new songs were more chiming, driving but relaxed, full of little corners begging to be filled with classic pop harmonies. Bottomfeeders drummer Lucas Bogner, bassist Pete Campanelli, and Kunal Prakash (Jeff the Brotherhood) dug the songs and signed on, and the quartet started playing in earnest, hunkering down in the practice space. By the time the band played its first gig in late 2018 at the opening of Nola’s ManRay Records, the songs had multiplied and the members of the newly christened Silver Synthetic had become genuine rock & roll craftsmen. Their Out of the Darkness EP makes it clear that that time spent living in these songs was worth it. Silver Synthetic boogie.
It makes sense that the band’s first gig was in a record shop ‘cause folks, this is record nerd-core in a major way, evocative of the LP's first golden era, as the late sixties melted into the 1970s. It's about warmth, and you can practically smell the heat coming off glowing amp tubes listening to “Anyway I Can,” with its T Rex-y stomp, or the Loaded-era VU invocation of “Unchain Your Heart." Loose but directional, the sterling “Making Time” feels a little like Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine wandered into a Kinks session. And that killer title track, which opens with a glorious krautrock buildup before settling into sunshine pop bliss. “Out of the darkness/into the light/there’s a deadly desire/Oh I wanna get you alone.”
While many of their peers would be lost without their daisy-chained and tangled pedal-boards, there’s a refreshing directness here, unassuming but confident, the result of a band deliberately not fussing too much over the thing, maintaining a connection to the feeling of hearing a well balanced two-guitar/bass/drums combo at a house show. Right up close, the smell of a domestic knocked over on a carpet wafting, the cheap PA redeemed by the purity of the moment.
And it kinda was a house show. The EP (and the band’s self-titled forthcoming Third Man Records LP) was recorded with Ross Farbe of Video Age, who lugged his mobile rig over to Lyons’ place in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. With the band set up in the living room (and the spare room converted into a makeshift isolation booth), the crew got down to business, striving to adhere to the live, honest approach. Minimal overdubs, dialed in tone, a good vibe. When it came time to take a break, there was no studio manager around to object or keep the clock running, so the band could hit pause to make a good lunch, talk about the songs, and play with Prakash’s schnauzer mix Shakey.
You could call Silver Synthetic rock & roll formalists, but the truth is they're more like minimalists, stripping away tired clutter and unnecessary bloat and just zooming in on the essential. Out of the Darkness is a direct statement. "Unchain your heart, bring it back to me," Lyons sings over a blissful choogle. If you're not persuaded by the time the immaculate harmonized ohhhs and fried guitar freakout fade, you've got something locked up too tight.
OUT OF THE DARKNESS EP
(THIRD MAN RECORDS)
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 2, 2020
1. Anyway I Can
2. Unchain Your Heart
3. Making Time
4. Out Of The Darkness