I distinctly remember the first time I was introduced to Silver Pines - one night in Dallas, I struck up a conversation with a couple guys from The Theater Fire. Once they discovered I had gone to school in San Marcos they were baffled to know I had never heard, according to them, this amazing band. Needless to say, I immediately got on the internet and was swiftly consumed in the whirlwind of musical sorcery that is Silver Pines. This encounter was only the first of many that I would have with multiple musicians who also confessed a deep love and admiration for this group of artists. The seemingly universal respect of their peers aside, the devotion is more than justified and similar to their self-proclaimed influence Kaleidoscope, in that, although their sound isn’t mainstream and popular to the general public, it is obviously born of tremendously unique and talented musicians.
Comparisons are sincerely beyond me when it comes to Silver Pines’ second self-released album, Forces. Stefanie Franciotti’s vocals are beautiful and dynamic yet set well within the overall style of their sound. Her southern twangalicious voice doesn’t sit on top or in front of the songs, but is used more like an additional instrument that intertwines organically with each note and melody. Although their western, psychedelic sound is a bit like Mazzy Star, the vocals are much better embedded and resemble another one of their influences, Bright Black Morning Light.
Silver Pines embodies a gritty, unpolished realism that allows for a genuine, one of a kind style unlike anything heard in years.
Each track on the album is perfectly placed for your listening pleasure and even includes two palate cleansers; “Polar Bear” and “Fortress of Daughters” are short instrumental interludes that bring you in with intense crescendos and prepare you for the next few tracks with dramatic lingering drop offs. A few songs on Forces have an uncanny ability to pull you into a scene. Every sound seems to signal a visual cue, such as “Maypearl,” which paints a picture with its wavering saw of a western saloons and spurred outlaws meandering among the blowing tumbleweeds. Lyrically, however, the songs are very poetic and open to interpretation, adding yet another layer to an already beautiful canvas.
The seven tracks of Forces remind me a lot of the Kill Bill Soundtrack with its southwestern, yet modern approach. Each song flows through a spectrum of styles, moving from southern folk melodies to more southern rock that focus heavily on slide but linger using reverberation in an experimental way. Opening track “Timefather” also possesses this somewhat melodramatic, serious tone, but more upbeat tracks like “Payasito” and “Traveling Bones” balance that out. Ultimately, it is a great album deserving of your attention, and you should probably experience them live too as soon as possible.