The Silence Kit – Dislocations

The Silence Kit - Dislocations

The last release by Philly’s The Silence Kit has its moments, and the new record Dislocations does as well. Overall, though, this one doesn’t have quite the same overall impact and it’s difficult to say exactly what’s changed. The music hasn’t changed drastically.

This album sounds as though the band has gone for more of an 80s sound. Opener “Let There Be No Hurt” has the kind of dancefloor beat that some of the old postpunks put behind their snarling, sneering tracks. In fact, the band has managed to pull off a bit of Josef K on this and a few of the other tracks. Instead of biting political or agitprop discursions, The Silence Kit tends towards emoish (not a criticism) subject matter. Closing track “I’ll Always Bring You Down” bookends the album with another urgent, guitar-driven cut. These two songs show off the band’s best traits: headlong and desperate, the band pulls together and makes appealing music delivered with conviction. Light bits of synth do more to mark the band’s influences than get in the way, which is a good thing.

Tracks like “Fire Escape” don’t have quite the same impact, though. The first two-thirds of the song, done at a slow pace, seem to go on a bit too long or seem somewhat forced, and it’s not until the last third that the band gets back into high gear. It could be that the slower passages dwell too much on the vocals, which don’t always quite convey (a bit off key, maybe?). The song’s Springhouse ending almost makes up for the slow start. “Bad Months” never quite gets up to speed, leaving the listener feeling like the band is even constrained by its own choice of pacing, and the same could be said of “Spent Too Long Waiting.” Playing up the misery angle doesn’t always translate. It seems that the band’s sweet spot is in its charging, postpunk-influenced numbers, where the band feels like a unit.

A nice surprise is the simple, affecting “The Magician,” whose key changes and mood — plus its choruses’ hook — redeem what could have been something uninspiring. As with some of the Clinic records, the good songs can be really good, but sometimes you have to go through the less engaging material to find them.