Silverlake Shutdown EP

Over twenty five years ago a good friend had to endure painful mental health – due to an act of incredible betrayal – thankfully a respectful & qualified Mental Health Nurse was available. When I articulated this upsetting development to a family member they remarked bluntly: “What, they’re a bloody nutter?” Thankfully, we live in more sympathetic and sophisticated times…

The sophistication of Silverlake’s opening track Shutdown works on a number of frequencies. The track focuses on the unhealthy preoccupation with a virtual online life and the consequent negative repercussions on an individual’s mind. The song is for me about a  personal lockdown – “get off the grid and off the platforms“– a reflective message with intensely dark lyrics. The sentiments are framed by an electronic disco backdrop, with vocals delivered in a breathless and understated style, though still allowing for the opportunity to dance. Silverlake are not afraid to dance in the shadows; there may be a mirror tile or four missing and the rotating disco ball might be jerky but Silverlake will always allow you access to the edge of their dancefloor.   

The edginess of “Caroline Says” explores still further an intensely personal perspective as our character questions their mental well-being – via questions and introspection. We are given analogue lyrics offering very human responses with an electronica soundscape. The sadness of the lyrics is reflected in the lugubrious harmonica and the mournful strings.  The song is all about the self, even the pro-nouns “you” are contained in rhetorical questions to the self: “How are you doing?” The song is not about selfishness but about the self and the need for a “spark” in your life. I guess we all need some metaphoric disco lights at times…          

The track “Black Ponytail”…although conceived by Silverlake could easily be the bastard offspring of Sophie Ellis Bextor and Depeche Mode; following a mutually agreeable tryst in the discothèque carpark. The repetitive circuit board symphony is inhuman but the fragile voice is very human. Repetitive lyrics are underlined by the looped backdrop of electronic notes creating a Silverlake take on gothic disco…

(The extended version of Shutdown is prophetic not least because our own lockdown has been extended – once again, not for the first time, art reflects life or is it the other way around?)          

In our own lives I guess we all know of someone – or perhaps have suffered ourselves? – from mental health concerns and can appreciate the honesty and yes, generosity of Silverlake. As all proceeds from this EP will be given directly to “Springfield Mind – for better mental health” to help support the work they undertake with sufferers. A very worthwhile cause and I know because my mate is in a much better place due to such qualified interventions and is not afraid to talk openly as a result. Indeed, how times have changed – aided and abetted by brave bands such as Silverlake. Respect.     

By: The Swilgate Scuttler

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