Check out the wonderful review of our debut album by Critique de Salon (Lounge Review), one of the coolest music-based websites in Quebec, translated below.
The recent history of music has taught us to be wary of group names. Of Montreal comes from the United States, Boards of Canada from Scotland, Barenaked Ladies is a group of men (wearing clothes, no less), etc. so, when seeing the name The Silver Lake Chorus, we ask ourselves: what is in store?
One listen quickly teaches us that we are listening to an authentic choral group who offers indie-flavored interpretations. Around 25 singers offer impeccable vocal performances that come from traditional church singing. FROM THE SNOW TOPPED HILLS, for example, begins with very religious sounding tones, in order to give a glimpse of the vocal power of the group, the better to surprise the audience with what follows.
First surprise: HOLD UP FOR, by Tegan and Sara, which reminds us very well of the upbeat energy of the duo, but with a touch more folk and, of course, bewitching vocal harmonies. That song is followed by BREAK IT DOWN, which will make an impression on all the nostalgic gamers of the world: the melody of the verse recalls almost exactly the theme of Final Fantasy IV. At least the refrain, equally as pleasant, goes elsewhere.
Slower and more contemplative, HEAVY STAR MOVIN’ is worth the change in pace. It is followed by SAME SONG, which begins with the same softness, before percussion is added, then some electronic elements, which add to the energy of the song. The candy pop NERVOUS SOUL is also strangely effective when sung by a chorale. Another that returns to the softer register is SALTED WOUND. The lead male voice on OVERBOARD reminds of Of Monsters and Men, both in style and register. Special mention is deserved for the powerful build up in the last refrain.
Besides these more notable tracks, the rest of the album is equally worth listening to, with no one song necessarily standing out above the others: in sum, all the songs are superbly interpreted with impeccably solid vocals and carefully crafted arrangements. But when everything is so good, nothing manages to easily distinguish itself. Not even the final song, EASY TO DIE, with its lullaby melody accompanied by a melancholic piano. However it’s a fitting ending to this opus of wonders.
This first TSLC album meets the challenge of showing choral music in a different light. And it is very successful, if we look at the many different styles explored by the group, all with cohesion. Now that the door has been decisively opened by this eponymous work, we can expect an even more assured follow up, perhaps by pushing further the exploration choral music in the universe of indie pop, because the group seems to have leaned too much on the crutches of classical choral music, which may get in the way of achieving its full potential.
The album is available on soundcloud.
(Thanks to Edward Tournier for the translation.)