Something To Melt The Silence


Independent Release, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


When track one -- "And You Are" -- of Swandive's debut effort Something To Melt The Silence, begins with a mellifluously catchy piano-hook, you are almost certain to guess it's Coldplay doing another of its "Trouble"/ "Clocks"/ "Speed Of Sound" ballads again and are ready to shake your head in dismay at Chris Martin and his gang.

But on the realization that it is not Coldplay and is in fact a little-known band named Swandive, the disappointment at Coldplay turns into utter disgust at this no-name imitator. That is, until the track progresses and you realize that this obscure act from San Diego is actually not bad after all, and furthermore, when the song reaches a moment of brilliance as singer/guitarist Scott Spick does an amazing Jeff Buckley falsetto during the track's final chorus, you find the hair on the back of your neck standing up.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Moments of such brilliance come in plentitude as the record progresses, and at the end the album leaves you completely in awe. This is what makes Swandive so special. The first track is enough to indicate that they are heavily inspired by Coldplay, the thought of which brings queasiness, and though there is nothing new in Swandive's kind of music, the beauty of this act is its superb musicianship and song arrangements that are in a league of its own.

The music mixes the cragginess of American alt-folk sound with mushiness of contemporary Brit-pop, and Spick is a breathtaking singer, matching the near-impossibility of Jeff Buckley. Great artists like Buckley can be inspiring, but to sound like him needs really serious talent, which show in Spick's high-pitched maniacal yells ("Mercy Begins" and "Fringe Glider"), or drunken sexiness ("Drifting Slowly" and "Ana"), or just plain sexiness ("Push, Pull…Choke" and "You'll Never Know"). With the range of notes that Spick hits, and his effortless ability to reach them, he might well be one of the most charismatic singers in rock today; this is not an overstatement.

The only concern with this album is that a couple of tracks tend to be too much like a Buckley or a Coldplay track. For instance, the aforementioned "Mercy Begins" sounds like a copy of Buckley's "Grace," from its psychedelic guitar hook to its mad eruption towards the end. Also, the riff on "Meaning Of It All" is all too close to Coldplay's "In My Place." However, these cuts are so wonderfully done that they are as heavenly as the rest of the record.

Something To Melt The Silence is a fantastic debut effort. It is a pleasure listening to music so intense, simple, complex, beautiful, sexy, and edgy at the same time. This is music with depth, straight from the heart, honest and earnest. Indeed, a great masterpiece by an amazingly talented act.

[For more information on Swandive, visit]

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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