Silverstein has never been a band of many faces. Since their debut album on Victory Records in 2003, the five-piece from Ontario, Canada made a name for themselves in the post-hardcore scene by releasing solid albums for the past nine years, even if they didn’t branch off much from that original Victory Records sound. The band’s recent release Short Songs sees them trying to do something a little different and have fun with it. Short Songs is made up of just what the title suggests: a plethora of different but very short songs, including 11 originals and 11 covers.
Short Songs makes an effort to hit the listener as quickly as possible. Whether it be in a blistering fashion (“Sick As Your Secrets,” “Truth & Temptation”) or in a more classic Silverstein kind of way (“World on Fire,” “Sin & Redemption”), each song is under two minutes, leaving not a whole lot of room for Silverstein to make a point of them.
When listening to Short Songs it is kind of hard to get a grip on some of the songs as a lot of them seem like filler tracks, but what can you really expect with these short songs? It comes down to the fact that the only element that most of the songs have in common is their length. It becomes increasingly difficult for Silverstein to keep an identity as the album progresses. The transitions are a little awkward and the track order is questionable to say the least.
Even though tracks like “Brookfield” and “Sleep Around” don’t really make much sense among the heavier tracks, some of those heavier tracks can be considered some of the best songs Silverstein has written to date. “World On Fire” opens with Shane Told’s classic screams and then jumps into a poised and composed chorus that soars. Likewise on “SOS,” Told’s screams open the track joyously once again and as the track moves along the guitars jump between incredibly heavy hitting and a light accompaniment to Told’s raw shouts.
The other side of Short Songs includes covers of punk legends such as Descendants, NOFX and Green Day as well as a song that no doubt inspired the album, a cover of Dead Kennedys‘ humorous “Short Songs.” The latter half of the album is full of these covers and generally Silverstein is hit or miss. Covers of “Good Intentions” by Gorilla Biscuits and “It’s My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite” by NOFX come off a little awkward but the Orchid cover as well as the The Promise Ring cover go over much better as they are both aesthetically pleasing in their own rights.
God bless Silverstein for finally trying something a little different even if the final product isn’t great by any means. What we have here is a conglomeration of fun songs and covers that the band obviously had a blast recording. That same enthusiasm can be felt and if the listener is having a good time listening, then that’s all that matters.