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The Silent Comedy, a Review

The Silent ComedyOnce in a while, I bother watching film/television show/video game trailers online. Usually only if someone points it out to me, it’s something I’ve been anticipating… or just something that looks really cool. This week pulled two of those on me. First off, The Tony Stark ExtravaganzaAvengers trailer looks fantastic. Much snark, much explosion, much awesome. I’m looking forward to that one. Then yesterday I noticed a video game trailer someone posted online that had an interesting title – Dark Souls. Fairly generic, but you don’t see many games with generic titles like that, so it actually caught my interest. I watched the trailer, and while the game looks interesting (sort of a dark, medieval, horror fantasy style game) I was more caught up in the song that played through the trailer. Amusingly, the thing that sold me most in The Avengers trailer was also the song (Nine Inch Nails – We’re In This Together, fantastic song), which fit really, really well… so this was a running theme last week apparently.

So, Dark Souls trailer, song… yes. The band is The Silent Comedy. The song in the Dark Souls trailer can only be described as western rock… almost like a split between The Raconteurs, Murder By Death, and old blues. While not all of the band’s songs are quite this style (though most are similar), it’s definitely a fantastic sound (and doesn’t quite fit with the game trailer, which has an interesting dynamic). Fast-forward a day…

Listening to the album Sunset Stables I can definitely get a feel for the band. This is their first album, which is impressive. Very, very well produced and put together. It has a very nice sound, and flows very well. Reminiscent of The Raconteurs, as I mentioned earlier… with a bit of a Mumford & Sons sound in there as well. The similarities with the latter are in fact impressive, considering they formed around the same time I believe.

Spinning through the tracks on the first album, it’s a cohesive and fun sound. Enjoyable to listen to, not too ridiculous, not too boring. Something I can sit down and listen to “cover to cover” and not skip any songs. But again, nothing overly impressive. Nothing in particular that stands out and grabs me. Onward to the second album!

Common Faults is the band’s second album. This album has a bit more of that bluesy feel to it that I mentioned earlier. The song from the Dark Souls trailer is on this album – “Bartholomew” – and is definitely a favorite for this album. The album starts out extremely strong with “‘49” and continues to soak into your skin. Unlike their first album, which, while impressive for a first album, is simply good, this album is damn fantastic. Some of the tracks stand out more than others… but like the first album, it’s all very well put together, and the production quality of this album is absolutely fantastic.

So songs… songs are important. I should mention the really good ones. Bartholomew, as previously mentioned, is fantastic. “‘49,” “The Well,” “Moonshine,” “Exploitation,” …and “All Saints Day” are the other really good ones off of the second album (Yes, I realize that’s just about half the album…). If I was going to recommend one song for you to listen to, though, it would be the whole albumBartholomew. It’s my favorite anyway… It captures that old blues underdog power that many, many songs try for, and most fail at. It just drives forward, beating you down and lifting you back up. “Moonshine” has a similar feeling to it, but doesn’t quite have that unexpected boom that “Bartholomew” has. So yeah, that’s my recommendation there.

The Silent Comedy live

From The Silent Comedy's website.

Overall, the band has a fantastic sound that I think few bands even go for these days. And it’s original… as much as this genre of music can be. I mean, hell, in “Moonshine” you’re rocking out along with the song and suddenly there’s a jazz organ jamming away in the background… very unexpected. So if you’re getting really tired of “wubwubwubwub” or the same generic sounding rock/rap/pop/etc. music, this is one of the few newer albums I would highly recommend to you. The new Foo Fighters, Thrice, and Authority Zero would be a few others… but… we were talking about The Silent Comedy. So yes, if you want something that actually sounds “new,” then check them out. I highly recommend them.

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Sunday Reviews Explained

Sorry for the delay today, we had a power outage this morning, and a few other things going on…

So! I figured that I would lead up to my first review with an explanation of the reviewing process. I am going to do these as a two-fold review, so there will be two rankings per movie – Creative and Technical. Basically, the reviews are going to cover points that stood out to me throughout the film – specific scenes that were good (or bad), specific technical aspects that I took notice of, etc. Also, there will be a basic explanation of the plot, acting, camerawork, etc, as a breakdown of my ranking. I intend to try and keep these reviews as spoiler-free as possible… so at points they may feel vague, but I feel that you as readers are more likely to want to watch the movies I give high praise to if I don’t give away the entire movie in the review. So, to break down the two categories…

Creative – The “Creative” category covers the acting, writing, and plot of the movie. The acting will simply be based off of the skill/talent of the actors involved. I will also be trying to keep my considerations of this within the era of the movie. Movies were held to much different standards in the ’70s than they are now, so a movie that might be considered a bomb today could have been a box office hit in 1975. Things you have to keep in mind… Also, the writing will basically cover the flow of  dialogue in the movie, as well as the quality of the dialogue. Finally – plot will cover just that – the plot. How interesting it is, how well laid out it is, and whether or not it’s well delivered. I will take a “grade” into consideration for all of these categories, and then my final rank will be the average of them.

Technical – The “Technical” category is more definite than the “Creative” one. It will cover things like the sound editing, cinematography, lighting, direction, soundtrack/score, etc. This rating will probably be more strict than the other, as it isn’t as open to opinion as the “Creative” side – aka I hold movies to higher standards in technical aspects than creative aspects, heh. So basically I’ll point out anything I think was done poorly, or particularly well, and at the end give you my rating, which will once again be the average of all the individual grades that make up this category.

So for example – say I watched Fight Club (one of my favorite movies). I think the acting, dialogue, and plot of this movie are fantastic. The plot twists are well done, and the over arching imagination it took to write this movie was superb. 5/5. And on the technical side, the movie is extremely well shot, the soundtrack rocks, the lighting fits well with the themes, and the movie, over all, delivers in every way it sets out to, artistically.  Again, 5/5. So at the bottom of the review you’d see this…

Creative: 5/5
Technical: 5/5

Got it? Good. Now stay tuned for the review of Suspiria!