Class of 2005 Throwback
Silverstein Discovering the Waterfront Aug. 16, 2005 (Victory Records)
In their 15 year career, Silverstein has produced albums that have become post-hardcore staples in any kid’s collection — What’s Broken is Easily Fixed (2003), Discovering the Waterfront (2005), etc. Celebrating their most popular album’s ten-year anniversary, Silverstein is gearing up for a world tour where they will be playing Discovering the Waterfront in its entirety.
As post-hardcore goes, Silverstein teeters on the emocore edge — Shane Told’s vocals, as heavy as they are in the band’s earlier works, contain the usual emotional verses that have sealed them on headlining tours with then-Victory mates Hawthorne Heights, Aiden and Bayside, as well as Equal Vision partners Armor for Sleep (most of whom are also celebrating 10 to 15 year marks in their careers).
The opening song on Discovering the Waterfront “My Dagger Versus Your Sword,” starts with a repetitive guitar lick leading into Told’s unclean gulps “I’m cutting through, you’re bleeding out.” A decidedly Romeo + Juliet theme, the song is held together by these literary allusions and an aggressive style that move seamlessly into the melodic beginning of the single “Smile in Your Sleep.”
“Smile in Your Sleep,” whose “Clue” themed video was featured on the Victory Records sampler included in Hawthorne Heights If Only You Were Lonely hosted by JT Woodruff, is the arguably the most well-known single Silverstein has pressed to date. A soft repeated guitar riff backed by a walking bass-line leads into Told’s melodic questioning of his relationship. This questioning leads to anger and murder, backed by Told’s desperate, gasping screams — “I dream of steel. Maroon and warm, / Your end […] You gasp for air / I’ll see this through, I’ll see through you.” — which transitions back to the melodic guitar line similar to what started the song. It ends abruptly, Told screaming “I deserve better than this!” — drums and guitar chords punctuating every syllable.
The title track “Discovering the Waterfront” is the epitome of giving up, the opposite of the previous track. A soft guitar solo plays with Told’s painful lyrics in the second verse – “You ask for my heart / you know that I’m down / but not the way you like to me.” When all else fails, Told’s stop-time soliloquy “Because I won’t live forever / We don’t belong together / I know I’ll feel better / One day when I can make it through.”
Likening a lover to an overdose is never a pleasant analogy, but “My Heroine” pulls it off without breaking too many heartstrings. Starting softly, subdivided drum hits leads into the chorus and Told’s angst-filled gasps — “You won’t try to save me! / You just want to hurt me and leave me desperate!” The second single from the album revolves around the same central theme of loss and hopelessness, tinged with the thick distorted guitar and thrashing drum beats essential to post-hardcore music.
As sophomore albums go, Discovering the Waterfront is a strong mark in Silverstein’s career. It and their debut What’s Broken is Easily Fixed are the standard that their most recent works have been — and will always be —held to.
Listen to: “Call It Karma”