Monday, November 19, 2018

Albums of the Year # 37 New Silver Girl - New Silver Girl

'The West is the best...'

Finland's New Silver Girl have an innate sense and gift for Rock and Roll. This is evidently obvious just through listening to the first three minutes of Love is Like a Goldmine, the first song on their eponymous debut album which came out a few weeks back. It's immediately clear that you are in very safe hands indeed.

This is mythic stuff. New Silver Girl is an album first and foremost that's obviously rooted in the Seventies. Think, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, America, Waters and Gilmour era Floyd, Hawkwind, Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, New Riders of the Purple Sage. Long haired stoners. Heading out on the highway.

Then fast forward to the Nineties and a new breed of dull-eyed dreamers take on this vision and scuff it up a bit. Swervedriver, Dinosaur Jr, The Verve, Primal Scream, Spiritualised, Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang, Teenage Fanclub, (of Everything Flows), Oasis (of Columbia). These two lists should give you an idea of the medicine being mixed up in New Silver Girl's basement twenty years further on down the line.

The guitar lines are crystalline. The vocals elegant wasted. The road is wide, open and seems as if it might go on for ever. The band don't miss a beat. Every song sets a slightly different tone from the template impression they lay down with Love is Like a Goldmine. Just as every sunrise and sunset is the same yet subtly different. Lyrically, they get it just right too. 'I know you're one of the immortals and we're on the road to glory' they sing on Tennessee. The line could stand as a mission statement.

As I suggested, this is a dream very much born in Seventies music, literature and cinema. You could imagine a New Silver Girl song popping up on the soundtrack of Almost Famous, Dazed & Confused or The Virgin Suicides. They almost seem to share musical genes with Stillwater, the fictional band from the first of these movies. Over the course of the record they capture perfectly the loping, loose feel of late teens and early twenties. Joints are surely being passed and it seems likely that we'll all need to chip in to get us a bottle of JD.

It's an altogether wonderful record and I'm delighted to have caught onto it and be able to slot it into my end of year list. Perhaps it's fitting to let the band have their own say. Here's singer Olli Happonen, (a man with a distinct Tom Petty look about him), of the band talking about how this all came to pass.

'My first contact with rock'n'roll was in Rauma, somewhere in the 1990's. Youth discos were playing europop. The streets were dead. The local ice hockey club offered a pastime for some. An old city hydroelectric plant gave shelter and a way to salvation. Dick Dale, Hellacopters, Hypnomen, Laika and the Cosmonauts and Lou Reed were the music of the older boys and girls. I followed along.

With the dawn of the new Millennium arriving the town of Raumen was left behind, but rock stayed. I moved to Helsinki, bought a guitar and after years of wandering through the rock clubs of the city I found myself sharing the stage with 4 other guys with same passion for music and life. New Silver Girl was born...'

After listening to New Silver Girl the morning I wrote this review, I listened to The End by The Doors the song from the Sixties that most obviously heralds the sensibility that New Silver Girl draws on. The segue between the two was seamless.

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