An up-and-coming band on the Latvian rock scene is S.I.L.S., which released its debut album, Stāsti patiesi un izdomāti, in 2008. The group was founded way back in 1999 and has had songs included on various Priekšnams alternative music collections, as well as performing at several of the Bildes festival concerts in Rīga.
The album’s distributor, Platforma Records, describes the band as “post grunge.” Although this is a vague label for music, it usually involves taking the distorted and fuzzy guitar of grunge music, as well as the often angst-filled lyrics, and adding more melodic elements. On its Web site, the band’s music is described as always having been “about pain, love and unfulfilled dreams.”
The name of S.I.L.S., though seeming to be an acronym, is cryptically described on the Web site as being related to viewing the approach of evening through a window in the Ķengarags region of Rīga.
The members of the band are Ģirts Strumpmanis on vocals and guitar, Kaspars Lastovskis on bass and Māris Ozoliņš on drums, with guest appearances by Ronalds Seleckis on guitar. Almost all of the music is written by Strumpmanis, and Strumpmanis and Seleckis wrote most of the lyrics.
The album begins with “Izpratne par skaistumu,” which alternates between melodic verses, with a cleaner guitar sound, and a more distorted chorus. I think the band is more effective when it focuses more on the melodic aspects in its song writing, such as on “Pavasaris,” which is probably my favourite song on the album. Another favorite is “Beigu dziesma,” another one of the band’s more melodic songs. Four songs on the album are in English: “Morning,” “Carousel,” “Trust” and the final “hidden track,” which on the S.I.L.S. Web site is called “DLS2.”
The music and lyrics are, overall, a bit on the dreary side, certainly bringing forward the angst that is heard in other such bands influenced by the grunge style. The main problem I have with the album is that many of the songs are very similar—particularly the alternation between the clean guitar sound and the distorted guitar sound.
The album was mixed and mastered by Gints Sola of Jauns mēness and Mielavs un pārcēlāji. The album art was provided by Otto Zitmanis, who worked on the cover for Prāta vētra’s latest album, Tur kaut kam ir jābūt.
On its Web site, the group has indicated that with the release of this album, band members will take 2009 off to concentrate on their side projects. Certainly S.I.L.S. has presented an accomplished debut album, exhibiting both musical and lyrical talents. Fans of grunge and post-grunge should take a listen.
The “post-grunge” band S.I.L.S. released its debut album in 2008, but is taking this year off to pursue other projects. (Publicity photo)
Stāsti patiesi un izdomāti
Melo Records, 2008
Izpratne par skaistumu
Prieki un mode
Dziesma par sievieti Wāvu no Ruandas
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