Outsmarting Simon – Silent Sober and Sound

Outsmarting Simon
Silent Sober and Sound

Outsmarting Simon is just your standard emotional indie rock band with one exception. The band is able to write songs that are either really interesting or really dull. Formed around 2000 in the dorms of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, these guys have played with many well-recognized bands in the genre, including Pop Unknown, Coheed and Cambria, Further Seems Forever, and Penfold.
After many months and a lot of effort, the group finally produced 13 tracks for their debut full-length record Silent Sober and Sound, which equally characterizes their intense live show. The disc starts off with an Appleseed Cast-esque intro noise track entitled “The Ties,” which flows quite nicely into the epic rockstorm of “We Are Who We Hate.” The band takes a lot of cues from Penfold, combining heavy-hitting action with intricate melody and smooth sustaining vocals. A literal rollercoaster of emotions that ebb and flow, this song is catchy and immediately impressive, showing that the band really knows the art of songwriting. The production quality is also top-notch, combining various effects and overdubbed acoustic guitars for a nice chiming effect.
On “05.04.68” the band takes things down a notch while they play with some phasers amongst clean guitar parts, showing a definite Appleseed Cast influence. It’s a catchy tune that rocks out nicely while still remaining very on and precise. “With Five Words” and “And Matter” are similar tracks that take on an almost Radiohead OK Computer influence combined with a more punk-rock aesthetic. The remaining songs on the album are decent but not overly compelling enough to listen to, let alone write about. I’ll have to admit that after a while every track starts to sound the same as the one before it, which makes things quite uninteresting.
So while the band is certainly capable of producing songs that capture true emotion, they are also capable of writing material that drags on with little interest. While I feel the key elements are there for a good record, I can’t give this a high recommendation. Some of the songs are really great and I enjoy listening to them, but in many cases the bad outweighs the good. Nevertheless, fans of any of the aforementioned bands should take note of Outsmarting Simon because they certainly have the potential to become every bit as good as their processors – however, this album only shows they’re half ready.