BABYSUE : (writing about BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON )
This is such a cool album. And we're pleased to see that this long-running underground pop band has hooked up with the fine folks at Bossy Lil' Thing to release By the Light of the Moon. The band has been active for about three decades now (yow!), but they seem to just be hitting their peak this century. The band is comprised of Wallace Dietz (vocals, rhythm guitar, composer of all songs), John Suchocki (lead guitar), Michael Click (bass guitar), and John Morand (drums). These songs instantly recall some of the more adventurous and interesting classic underground pop bands from the past including (but not limited to) The Go-Betweens, The Monochrome Set, The Chills, and even The Feelies at times. Being the music snobs that we are, all of these are obvious top favorites. So if you like any of these (or if you just appreciate good solid underground guitar pop), this album is likely to push all of your buttons just the way you like 'em pushed. Recorded using only the essential ingredients, these tracks have a nice organic sound that is refreshingly simple. Overproduction hampers so many modern pop albums, so this one instantly stands out from the ever-increasing tidal waves of technology driven techno dribble. At this point in his career, Dietz has become a true master of his craft. And this just might be the best Silent Boys album yet. Killer tracks include "The Arsonist," "By the Light of the Moon," "There You Go Again," and "Ghost of a Steam Train Heart." Highly recommended. Top pick.
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: (writing about BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON)
This is a track ('The Arsonist' / By the Light of the Moon) that Lee Mavers would be proud of, a track that Michael Stipe would be proud; it has all the jangly pop rock that made The La’s and R.E.M. forces to be reckoned with. Its alternative and melodic approach is sure to get you hooked from the very first jangly chord.
There’s low key, then there’s LOW KEY, then there’s….well, off the radar. Unfortunately the Silent Boys are pretty much off the radar (except for those of us on the indie pop list) which is a damn shame as they are so good at what they do. What is it that they do, you ask? Transport us back to a bygone era called the 80’s when labels like Postcard, Factory and Sarah (and bands like Orange Juice, The Field Mice and, of course, Joy Division…who are not exactly what you’d call jangly) brought us some of the best low-key jangle pop that any music scene has ever produced.
PENNY BLACK MUSIC.COM.UK: (writing about PRINCESS BY THE SEA)
From the moment the jangle of opening track 'Don’t Take Love For Granted' kicks in you are transported back into the mid 1980’s and when, in the wake of The Smiths, indie-pop bands sprung up in every provincial town offering an escape from the over indulgent New Romantic bands that had plagued the charts for too long. 'Don’t Wait Forever' follows a similar lyrical slant about the trials and tribulations of love, while 'Strawberries and Cream' manages to veer between early the Brilliant Corners in the verses and the Stone Roses in the chorus. The title track, clocking in at nearly six minutes, is a finely crafted closer that has a sixties cinematic feel to it.
While bands like the Drums have taken a box load of old Sarah Records singles to propel them onto the pages of the 'NME' and the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have used the Wedding Present blueprint to become the most talked about band in indie circles the world over, the Silent Boys have been creating something equally exciting to limited exposure. Right this wrong, people – buy this CD.
INDEFINITELYBLUE.COM: (writing about PRINCESS BY THE SEA)
I had heard of the Silent Boys before and I knew they were from the US otherwise I might have mistaken them for some 80s British guitar pop act that just reformed. Princess By The Sea contains 7 tracks that were meant for release a decade ago but only saw the light of day this year. Although the band were formed back in the 80s this is only their fifth release so far. I hadn’t looked into their previous work but now I want to make amends because their sound is right up my alley: bright, upbeat jangly Pop evoking that warm, nostalgic feel of hearing for the first time in one’s life The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, The Brilliant Corners, The Chills and The Mighty Lemon Drops.
I really want you to discover The Silent Boys with me today, find them whichever way you can and enjoy them.
JACK RABID/BIG TAKEOVER: (writing about PRINCESS BY THE SEA)
No more cracks about anglophiles with poofy hair and overcoats, in love with guitar effects and/or mannered music high on melody with thoughtful romantic introspection—and low on obnoxious testosterone squall rawk. Put these guys (the Silent Boys) on the bill with Belle & Sebastian, Drums, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and David Westlake, and we might all swoon from the endless six-string gorgeousness and la la vocals. And then as now, highly talented singer/songwriter Wallace Dietz and his bunch would have no problem measuring up.
IS THIS MUSIC ? : (writing about ONE STEP CLOSER)
Like cassette mixtapes, Maxell t-shirts and Thatcherism, The Silent Boys are on a mission to keep the spirit of the 1980's alive. Not in the same way most bands currently are though; theirs is a manifesto less concerned with Pac Man t-shirts, mullets and Glo-sticks. For with every twist and turn of their lo-fi indie pop jerks a nod to the C86 spirit. Themselves huge fans of the latter and also labels such as Postcard and Factory, you get the sense they’d probably be releasing on these were it not for the labels’ distressing demise. From the likes of ‘Tin Heart’ and ‘Love Struck’, they’ve managed to channel the spirit (or crib wholesale, depending on which side of the bed you fell from) The Cure’s trademark acoustic twang, and layered it over mildly catchy alt. folk Americana. In keeping with such ideals, they’ve noticeably given less time to production duties, but with ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ sounding peculiarly similar to that Joy Division number and the gloomy, jangle-pop of ‘St Paul’s Letter’s’ shows The Silent Boys are worthy of your time. They were sadly a little late to make the C86 cut, but had they been on time....
The Silent Boys' WISHING WELL EYES takes up where their debut left off. It reminds me a little bit of the Math And Physics Club, like in "November Woods". But with better lyrics, which on the other hand is quite similar to the wordy playfulness of The Lucksmiths. My favorite is the title track with lines that go "I'm Fred and you're Ginger, dancing to a waltz in swing time; our feet are so light that we're skittering like waterbugs" and "We spent last night tightrope-walking on a moonbeam; we lassoed the moon and we tied it to the bedpost". I wish I could write like that. They do wear their influences on their sleeves, too; namedropping The Feelies on "Crazy Rhythms": "Your thoughts are racing too fast for your words, so you put on The Feelies' first record; you're dancing in epileptic twitches (an Ian Curtis reference perhaps?) and all of your worries dissapate." The quartet's unassuming and clean jangle recalls The Bats' At The National Grid as well. Highly recommended for jangle pop fans!
NOT LAME : (writing about WISHING WELL EYES)
A most beguiling and rewarding album for fans of some classic, more obscure(at least now) sounds of the mid/late 80`s; we`re talking bands like The Feelies, The Housemartins, Lovetractor, The Smiths, Miracle Legion, Kiwi bands like The Chills and The Bats and The Field Mice. It`s deceptive in its subtlety, while keeping a `back porch`, informal, friendly sound. Each listen reveals new pleasures and layers to enjoy. Very Highly Recommended!
HIGH BIAS : (writing about WISHING WELL EYES)
Another batch of 80s-informed, pop-giddy guitar songs. Leader Wallace Dietz's dry voice and ringing acoustic guitar frame his ultra-melodic, tastefully positive tunes; the rest of the band gives the tracks just enough thrust to keep things moving.
BEAUTY TIPS is 9 solid slices of jangle pop with a slight undercurrent of the Factory Records rhythms. The title track was something that could have appeared on one of those early , great Sarah Records comps. There seems to be a never-ending supply of marvelous hooks here and that’s the sort of thing that keeps me listening over and over. (Tim Hinely)