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The Silence Kit – Photo Credit: Danielle Neilio – NJ Event Photography, live at Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia
The Silence Kit is a Philadelphia-based post-punk band who have proven themselves to be full of surprises through the years, and their latest 11-song album Fall Protection finds them at the peak of their powers.
The band was started by singer/guitarist Patrick McCay in 2002, who was eventually joined by Darren O’Toole (drums) and Justin Dushkewich (bass). Recently augmented by James Gross (guitar) and Bryan Streitfeld (synth on track #2), the band has been playing east coast shows as a five-piece for the past year.
Included on tribute compilations to The Cure and The Sound released by The Blog That Celebrates Itself, and following a series of successful singles, the band’s fifth LP, Fall Protection recalls the spirit of ’80s-era post-punk filtered through the dreamy textures and swirling, layered guitars of ’90s shoegaze and indie rock.
The album grabs hold right from the start with “Supermarket.” Anchored by a solid backbeat and a driving riff, the song’s depth of textures, incendiary guitars, and melodic vocals make for a gripping opener.
“This Time” is perhaps the band’s signature post-punk song. With its locked in groove, echoing, dual guitars and atmospheric synths pushing the song ever closer to the edge, the band channels the emotional weight of bands like The Sound and The Chameleons while McCay’s vocals steadily unwind and the song builds into its apex of sound and raw emotion.
“Everything You Feel Good About” shines with a prominent bass line and rapid snare rolls. Hushed, confessional vocals rest atop a bed of synths, with guitars used as punctuation and ultimately providing liftoff near the darker end.
The piano-led “Wound,” with its darkwave mood and plaintive lyrics deftly surprises as two-thirds of the way through, the song bursts wide open and a guitar assault ensues with McCay’s voice growing into an anguished howl at the song’s crescendo.
“Worry” starts tightly wound and claustrophobic, then envelopes with a breath of airy psychedelia and a swirl of spidery guitars. Elsewhere, the band wears its new wave heart on its sleeve with “Never Say Goodbye,” welding John Hughes soundtrack-like synths to layers of shimmering, bent guitars and charismatic vocals.
The penultimate song on the album, “Tablecloth” starts with a jagged beat, and is buoyed by a weaving, frenetic bassline that keeps the song moving with a fiery energy, as the guitar interplay and psychedelic-tinged bridge all build to the album’s boiling point.
With final song “Discard,” the band provides a fitting denouement to the album. Heavy with reverb, rolling toms, and layers of guitars and synths, the song takes the listener on one final journey as the closing vocal finally accepts the inevitable – “I’ll take the fall” is sung again and again and leads into the ether…
Fall Protection can be purchased starting today on Bandcamp and it’s a bracing, inspiring listen. The Big Takeover is super-excited to share the exclusive world premiere of Fall Protection here.