In recent times, singer/guitarist Daniel Johns of Silverchair has become somewhat a celebrity icon with his own Spotify podcast Who Is Daniel Johns? which has been hugely popular in his home country of Australia, and also quite popular to a lesser extent elsewhere. However, to reach this stage, one has to look at the past work of the group Silverchair which was very popular in Rock circles from the mid to late 1990s. This is one of their landmark albums, and to be fair, Silverchair are underrated, not overrated. Let’s see if the music here is as good as it should be and if the album itself has any historical notes about it.
We start the album with Slave which begins with some syncopated loud, dirty guitars and drums. It promptly enters into an awesome guitar lick before going straight into business. It’s very catchy and Grunge sounding nonetheless. It sounds really incredible nonetheless and is an awesome start to the album. Singing about giving up oneself to be a slave with somebody else, this is an awesome listening experience from these guys, considering that Daniel Johns was only 17 years old at the time. A roaring loud and melodic piece, this sounds really good at high volume with its Post-Grunge feel. A great piece of music with a sped-up section towards the end, which is extremely intense and then finishes in a surprising way. Definitely awesome, a landmark beginning to this album.
Next is the popular song Freak which was a big single at the time. It opens with a catchy riff and some really great playing by the band. Catchy and direct, this song is a typical 1990s piece that is self-pitying, but this one isn’t overly depressing at all. “Body and soul, I’m a freak!” sings Daniel Johns in the chorus. It sounds really awesome and amazing for those who know a bit about the band. It sounds a little Nirvana-ish, but not in such a negative personal way that Kurt Cobain ever made. The video clip for the song as a single is freaky, too. An excellent guitar solo follows, and this Pop/Rock masterpiece is brilliant. Groovy and cool.
Abuse Me is next, beginning with a watery wah-wah/flanger set of guitars with a subtle bassline. It quickly launches into a self-loathing Pop/Rock piece that sounds, quite frankly, beautiful. “Come on, abuse me more, I like it,” is the vocal refrain here that sounds terrific. It doesn’t sound overly happy here, but the music is strangely uplifting and well delivered. It goes into a loud and crushing guitar-led midsection that is really infectious and terrific. This is very clever and decent music, with some backwards sound loops here to grab your attention. A really wonderful and uplifting tune for something that is clearly influenced by Grunge, this sounds great, even today. Nice tune. It finishes with the watery guitar again, a good song.
Lie To Me is a very short piece, at just over a minute. It’s very much like Hardcore Punk and sounds very furious and nicely delivered. It sounds a lot like Tourettes from Nirvana’s In Utero. A great sonic assault, with screamed vocals that sound fantastic. Silverchair were dramatic artists, it is over before you know it. Excellent.
Following up is No Association which begins with spacey electronic sounds that sound rather eerie. Before long, it changes to become some guitar parts, along with clanging heavy bass guitar and pounding drums. It goes from quiet/loud on this song, and the drumming and sounds here are enormous and well done. Daniel Johns sings some self-searching and interesting lyrics before the instrumentation becomes thunderous. A very good piece of music, this has its own character and delivery that is fantastic. Really catchy and awesome, this is sensational sounding. Considering how young these guys were, this is a brilliant composition and song. It ends with a load of different guitar and bass riffs intertwined, before finishing off with a sonic assault.
After that is Cemetery which begins with some clean guitar progressions and Daniel Johns singing calmly over the top of the guitars. It’s quite a sad sounding song, but nonetheless, is really excellent. There are some beautiful string sections that sound really gorgeous. The chorus is very heartbreaking, particularly on the first listen. A really decent and beautiful ballad, it launches into a great midsection that sounds a lot like The Rolling Stones with the string section and guitars in the background. A sad ballad, but essential listening all the same. The lyrics are about self-realisation, and it just sounds amazing. Great listening experience, very beautiful overall.
The Door begins with some interesting mid switch position guitar parts, before launching into Post-Grunge central. This is another very good and memorable song from this album. It sounds emotional, passionate and uplifting. This is another awesome listening experience and shows that Silverchair was more than capable of creating great music at their prime. A more mainstream and Pop oriented piece, but does not lack power or consistency all the same. A very wonderful listening experience, this sounds amazing and brilliant. Very decent song, even if it is lyrically a bit odd.
Pop Song For Us Rejects begins with some overdriven guitars, acoustic guitars and a beautiful vocal from Daniel Johns. This is very catchy and listenable, and although it doesn’t sound like much of the rest of the album. Crashingly loud guitars enter after some time, and this piece sounds very Poppy indeed (for the late 1990s anyway). A different and quite pretty-sounding piece of music, this sounds really straightforward for Silverchair. Not the greatest piece here, but still worth hearing. It finishes with a drop-tuned Grunge jam, nice stuff.
After that is Learn to Hate which begins with some loose guitar parts that are played very nicely. It launches into a laidback Post-Grunge piece, before going straight into a rocking ballad. Once the chorus emerges, the song becomes a crushingly loud and intense listen with some brilliant singing by Daniel Johns. There are some Hip Hop styled beats, powerful guitars and legendary vocals to listen to. This is likely written from a personal perspective but still sounds Grungey and amazing musically. It goes back to the intro riff in the middle, with some open lyrics about drug use. A really different song that sounds aggressive and explicit, this is a loud and different tune to get you headbanging at certain moments. Definitely good.
Next along is the oddly titled Petrol & Chlorine which begins with some gentle acoustic strumming and gorgeous vocals by Daniel Johns. The additional instrumentation, notably sitars and tabla drums, really don’t exactly fit this song. Undeniably, this is a great music piece, it just sounds really weird for Silverchair. Anyway, this is a decent piece of music which, although is quite a texture based piece, is a good song too. It sounds a lot like a song based on the Led Zeppelin III album, so if that is what you like, then this is for you. Weird, but interesting nonetheless. It has a lengthy outro with the Indian instrumentation and ends softly.
Roses begins with some loud and punchy drums, before launching into a dirty set of guitar riffs that are good. This is Silverchair getting back to business music-wise from the previous track. It is a dirty and driving piece of music that has a very late 1990s Alternative Rock feel about it. It’s a short but bittersweet piece that should inspire teenagers to pick up the guitar or another Rock instrument in awe of the sound here. A really good song and Silverchair sound on top of things with this set of songs. A very powerful and effective tune that is simple, yet amazing. It ends with a sustained chord outro and some odd guitar notes. Awesome.
Nobody Came is the longest track on this album, being over six minutes long. It begins with pounding drums, a simple guitar riff that is clean and Daniel Johns singing calmly over the top of it all. It goes into a crunchy and crashing quiet/loud stop/start set of Post-Grunge sounds. This is a good piece of music that sounds really excellent and is not at all boring during this lengthy piece. It is a very intense and powerful piece of songcraft that is very, very good. No doubt Daniel Johns was delivering these songs from quite a personal place, and this song is packed full of surprises. It has a weird midsection that is largely guitar texture-based with Daniel Johns howling, before launching into a really powerful and intense second half. There is a wah-wah guitar solo that is somewhat boundary-breaking, and the drums are very much like Thrash Metal to listen to. Very interesting listen, this concludes with clean guitar parts that sound great. Good job.
The last song from this album is The Closing which is a much shorter piece at three minutes long. It is a good piece of music to conclude a fine and underrated album from Silverchair. It begins with some quieter guitar parts, before launching straight into another very good song from Silverchair. This is a really awesome and excellent listen and Daniel Johns proves himself to be a great frontman. It changes abruptly in the second half, into something more Grunge and loud. In any case, a nice way to finish the album with some excellent sounds and song structure to enjoy. This sounds really wonderful and is a good way to finish things off. It ends abruptly.
Silverchair was only just getting started here. This release from 1997 shows that they were an intelligent and talented set of musicians who obviously knew what they were doing, even at points to rival The Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All the same, you should hear this landmark album, especially if you are Australian. They may never play another gig together as a band, but this is a very decent listen. A must-hear for fans of Post-Grunge music.
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