There's always a risk involved when you hear new material from a band or musician live before you hear the studio versions of the songs. So many times I have heard a new song performed live by one of my favorite artists and yearn for it to show up on their upcoming release, only to be bitterly disappointed at a far inferior version to what was heard live.
Having seen The Silent Years live numerous times within the last year, I've had the opportunity to hear the majority of the songs that make up their new EP "Let Go" (Sidecho Records) performed live well before this EP's release. Rest assured,this is one case where the studio material does not suffer one iota. The Detroit band has done it again, following up their flawless 2008 full length "The Globe" with this impeccable six track EP. Each release from The Silent Years advances their musical vision and leaves me in awe, yet again, that a band this great sits right in our own backyard. Their approach to indie rock and pop truly brings something unique to the table and makes for essential listening.
Fans who've heard "Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park" regularly as part of the band's live set needn't worry. The first track on the EP is every bit as infectious on record as it is live with its "Da da da da" sing along chorus taking up permanent residence in your head as soon as you hear it. Of the songs on here, there couldn't have been a more perfect pick to open "Let Go". Two other tracks that have been staples of recent live sets, "Vampires Bite The Hands Feed Them" and "Madame Shocking" appear here also, relatively similar to the live versions fans have come to know.
Although the bands leader Josh Epstein has stated this EP contains some of the band's "sunniest" material to date, and it is certainly lighter than some of the material on "The Globe", there is still plenty of introspection and even melancholy present on the disc. On the album's wonderfully melodic closer "Claw Marks", Epstein sings of "Places that I've lived alone" before presenting "I picture you at 6 years old/Shivering in the freezing cold/You always were a lonely soul". On the stunning "Forest Fire" he digs even deeper. "All my friends are black with rage/I'm just trying to act my age/find some new ways to pretend/I'm not everyone's loser friend" may not be the most upbeat, sunny lyrics but the song is no doubt among the group's best and, in a fair music world, would be all over the radio.
Far from a collection of leftover tracks tossed together for a quick release until their next full album, as can be the case with many EP's, "Let Go" is a cohesive gem. It further cements The Silent Years' reputation as one of the best bands working in independent music today, let alone in Detroit. News that the band is working on their next full length couldn't be more exciting given the top notch material on this EP.