Leaving a Mark: A Silent Film is Not Silent
By: R Jay Molina
A Silent Film, an indie band from Oxford, England, has rocked the music industry in their homeland for over two years now. However, they have yet to really make their mark in the United States, save for a couple thousand people who are British culture fanatics who go to great lengths to find music like this. The band could easily be described as the lovechild of Coldplay and Muse, but A Silent Film manages to make their own sound by blasting electrifying piano melodies in each song. The lead vocalist, Robert Stevenson, helps guide the listener with his whispering voice as the piano, guitars, and drums takes listeners on a journey throughout the band’s album, “The City That Sleeps.”
There are two versions of the album, the United Kingdom version which was released in 2008, and the U.S. version which made its way to our shores in 2010. There are significant differences between the two. The U.K. version has 11 tracks as opposed to the U.S. version, which has 10, the arrangement of the songs in both versions is different, and there are multiple tracks in the U.K. version which are not in the U.S. version and vice versa.
The great thing about the U.S. album is that any rock music fan can pick it up and enjoy it. Pop lovers can find their sound in tracks like “Thirteen Times the Strength” and “Lamplight.” Classic rockers can enjoy the mellow sounds of “Sleeping Pills” and “Julie June,” and alternative listeners have tracks like “You Will Leave a Mark,” “Driven by a Beating Heart,” and “Firefly at My Window” to sway to. The last track, “Aurora,” is the most haunting as Stevenson sings of how he must separate himself from his love to be his own person. The track is intimate as he is only accompanied by his piano and somber violins. The U.K. version offers tracks like “The Highest Regard,” “Gerontion,” and “Ghosts in the Water,” which fall into Coldplay-like territory.
Overall, A Silent Film deserves more recognition in the U.S. They certainly have more to learn, but it is always refreshing to hear a rock band from another country, especially when that band seems confident in trying to deliver a pulse-pounding, yet mellow album, which will either let a listener kick back and enjoy the tunes, or explore the meanings behind the music and lyrics. If the band sticks with their main formula of “piano rock,” while adding subtle differences for their next album, they will be unstoppable. They may not be a big hit right now in the states, but within a few more years they may just be the next Coldplay, and hopefully by that time they won’t be compared to that band.
In a society of bubblegum pop songs, that just explain what day it is, A Silent Film is slowly proving that rock is far from fading away. The genre is simply evolving. Buy the album now on Amazon or iTunes.