Silver Seas – Chateau Revenge

January 01, 1970

(Cheap Lullaby)


When listening to the Silver Seas’
Chateau Revenge, you’re faced with a
predicament. Do you enjoy it for what it is – a pristine pop record that, while
high-quality, lacks character? Or do you criticize it for what it is – a
pristine pop record that, while high-quality, lacks character?


From beginning to end, the Nashville outfit’s latest effort, a self-released
follow-up to 2007’s High Society, plays
like another band’s songbook. Opener “Another Bad Night’s Sleep,” follower
“Jane” and dulcet “Help is on the Way” flicker like a deprived David Gray
mating with early Coldplay. They’re gallingly wistful, heaving copiously with guitar
luster, beguiling refrains, passively twangy vocals, and trite lyrics (from
“Another Bad Night’s Sleep”: “No one likes to worry / No one likes to cry / No
one likes to be mistreated…” “A long walk / Off a short pier / Couldn’t drink
enough to let the world disappear.”) On the other side, “What’s the Drawback,”
“Somebody Said Your Name” and first single, “The Best Things in Life,” are
contenders for misplaced blue-eyed soul – both on Chateau Revenge and in this musical epoch – harkening back to the
days when Hall & Oates had a viable audience. They play like relics of 1980s
contemporary soft rock, employing the heavy use of peppy drum beats, drawn-out
synths, and “lite” funk bass and piano, even when “taking it slow.”


And, like the music, even the inspiration behind Chateau Revenge is sans distinction – a
stab at a “narrative concept album” turned autobiographical missive,
overflowing with botched courtships and ultimate salvation that, according to a
press release, is “the way a real Hollywood
ending should be.” It’s a prosaic back story, one we’ve heard times before and
often instated with little success. Really, Silver Seas
is suffering from an identity crisis – one cleverly concealed in a burnished
box of likeable melodies.


Despite this, there are two noteworthy tracks tucked away
for the listener – “Home and Dry” and “Kid.” While familiar but not easily
placeable, “Home and Dry” and “Kid” offer some reprieve from the amorphous bulk
of the record. They’re both bewitching and sleepy, hinting at a swelling tide
of emotion that never quite follows through – a sort of reserve in an already
preoccupied demeanor. Unfortunately, though, these couple of songs don’t save the
record from itself.


Overall, Chateau
is, at best, a good album. While it’s not reinventing the wheel, it
allows it to keep turning and, if you can get passed the unoriginality of its
gears, you can at least find some enjoyment.







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