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JFH Music Review

Silverline, Lights Out

Lights Out

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 10 tracks: 37 minutes, 16 seconds
Street Date: April 9, 2013

While it probably goes without saying that very few groups would purposely wish to toil away at their craft in abject obscurity, such a situation, it must be said, does offer them a certain luxury not enjoyed by their more popular peers. Indeed, minus the onerous burden of outside pressure from producers, label types and the ever-finicky fan base, the average indie band is free to compose, record and perform its music exactly as its members best see fit. Such must certainly have been the case with the men of Silverline, whose largely unheralded 2010 EP, Voices in the Night, tossed prevailing pop/worship trends to the wind in favor of five song's worth of heavily compressed guitars, larger-than-life choruses and a nod to everything from emo and '70s power pop to early MTV-era pop-metal. Most tellingly, against all conceivable hope of any sort of commercial success, there was nary a ballad to be found in the lot.

Those fortunate enough to have heard the overlooked extended player will be delighted to know that the moxy that propelled Voices to its lofty (albeit largely unknown) perch is still largely alive and well on the Minnesota quintet's full-length follow up. The riff-driven, Anberlin-influenced "Hold On" charges from the starting gate, bristling with energy and grit. The looser, more swaggering "Lights Out" fans the already brightly-glowing fire lit by the imposing opening cut. "War" augments the group's hard-rocking inclinations with a welcome helping of rhythm and funk, while "Never Looking Back" - perhaps best described as Emery covering the Jonas Brothers - faultlessly navigates the ever-tenuous tight rope between the pop and rock domains. And "Something Better" is the sort of lilting pure pop confection destined to put a spring in the step of all but the most stoic of hearers.

Elsewhere, though, the results are a bit more scattershot. Despite sounding so much like Anberlin that even the moms of that band's members probably couldn't tell it wasn't the work of their sons, "Vicious" has a certain bracing quality that should endear it to the harder-rocking members of the audience. Tamer entries like "Be Still," "With the Angels" and "Too Far Gone," on the other hand, while arguably on par with the usual worship-leaning fare played on most Christian pop radio stations, will probably have members of the existing fan base wondering exactly when their favorite group decided to become the next MercyMe. And less than inspired lyrics like "There's something on the tide tonight/ A new beginning/ I will rise/ Yeah," "My heart is yours/ I'll never be the same" and "They say follow your dreams/ But it's harder than it seems" do little to lift those softer tracks from their run of the mill instrumental mire.

Of course, eliminating the more generic songs still leaves roughly two thirds of an album's worth of topnotch music - which actually surpasses the quantity found on its predecessor. In the same way, while the members of Silverline aren't quite bard material, the majority of their lyrical shortcomings are compensated for on the harder-rocking compositions, where passion and earnestness conceivably count for as much as, if not more than, any literary or poetic aspirations. Just as importantly, in the present era where any guitars that happen to appear on a given artist's work are usually buried so far back in the mix as to be nearly imperceptible, it's refreshing to know that the men of Silverline haven't forgotten the value of a dirty blues lick or perfectly-placed power chord. Indeed, even with its weaker offerings taken into account, Lights Out is still a better-than-average effort that, although it falls shy of the consistently infectious gumption of Voices, it still offers plenty to love for those in both the radio-listening and rock-loving camps.

- Review date: 2/22/13, written by Bert Gangl of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Christian rock bands are becoming a dime a dozen lately, making it more difficult to find something new, fresh, or good. After a moderately decent album in 2009, Silverline's Light's Out is one of those albums that will be liked by some and passed over by many. There are definitely some highlights found here, but Lights Out won't stand out in the overstocked music aisle.

Songs like "Hold On" and "Vicious" showcase the rock side of what is mostly softer radio-play songs. There's nothing overly deep or creative here, but you'll find yourself singing along with the catchiness of it all. Speaking of that softer sound, it does seem to be where Silverline does its best work. "Be Still" and "With The Angels" are both decent worship tracks that showcase a wonderful Savior.

Overall, "Lights Out" maintains a great eternally driven perspective, but with subpar music and nothing unique delivered. Those who dig the soft rock scene will truly enjoy the album, but if you're looking for something other than what's played on the radio every day, this won't be for you. - Kevin Hoskins, 3/26/13

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. Record Label: DREAM Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 37 minutes, 16 seconds
. Street Date: April 9, 2013
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It:

  • Hold On (3:06)
  • Lights Out (3:26)
  • Never Looking Back (4:03)
  • With The Angels (4:04)
  • Vicious (2:47)
  • Found In You (3:58)
  • Be Still (3:56)
  • War (3:21)
  • Something Better (3:54)
  • Too Far Gone (4:48)
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