Oakland’s Silent Era balance message and resonance, bouncing around possible directions with a heart for togetherness. The band is the thing. And through this thing, an energy is released as the ultimate potion. On their latest record, Rotate The Mirror, out September 15 via Nervous Intent Records, the quickness of their movement parallels the anger through which they show their love.
“I would say most of our songs are hopeful and about envisioning a better world,” says bassist Booz Ullrey. “Seeing a way through and believing in each other.”
And the impetus for such communion is the ultimate in transformation.
“I’ll imagine the snare drum as a cop’s face, or the cymbals as the racist Baptists I grew up with,” notes drummer Greg Harvester. “I think struggle is inherent to all music.”
It’s the noticeable aspect to Silent Era’s sound, a grouped joy shimmering through each member’s particular feelings. The music is direct, and yet abstract. Guitarist Matt Badenhop’s watery riffs sit linear to Michelle Hill’s loose vocals. Ullrey and Badenhop sit back as the foundation, a stone quarry of two, holding things as one. As riffs ring out, and compositions counter back, the fullness and support is clear. There is anger that is reinforced by compassion and a desire to express hope. It is an even extension.
“Silent Era is one of the more collaborative bands I’ve played with,” says Hill. “We all share our insights into arrangement, editing, and texture. Our aesthetic and moral directions are on a fairly common wavelength and collaboration feels very nurturing.”
Eight songs on Rotate The Mirror lay classic in their incantation. Each step of the way, a building of spells and angst, and then a recognition of the space the band has formed. In this way it is a path. To a new world perhaps, this is a band that enacts a charged spirit, a dose of reality to the moment we’re living in. The group asks if we have a say in our future. Does anyone?
“This is the first time I actually am angry about the vote I feel I will have to cast later this year,” Hill explains. “And since the personal is political, I’d say the politics of this record feel particularly poignant. Even just the concept of acknowledging people’s potential for transformative growth calls into question the existence of prisons, police, the concept of punishment, and struggles around power.”
The record ends with the expansive “Future Dreams,” a number equal in grief and joy. Silent Era play for each other, and in doing so, play for everyone. “The revolution’s inside you,” Hill sings, as the band wraps its support around her. Great bands have a knack of sacrificing themselves, if only for a second.
“I’d like to state the themes at work in the process of making this record,” Hill adds. “The search for equilibrium and harmony, understanding that feelings, however important, aren’t facts, that stories can be rewritten, and that all persons carry within them the potential for transformative growth.”
Sounds like a way forward.
Pick up a copy here.