- by Jeff Penczak Rating:5 Release Date:2016-11-11 Label: Drag City
The Silence’s last album wasn’t. To my regret, it merely induced a bummer of a headache. Despite some intermittent proggy, pastoral passages, it was mostly an experimental, noisy mess. I was hoping third time’s a charm, and hesitantly approached the latest with an open ear. It originally struck me as a pseudo-concept album after I noticed it had nine tracks, and began with something called ‘Ritual of The Sun (Worm Hole To The Universe)’, but abandoned that idea when I noticed a couple of covers lurking under the hood. Originals by The Stones and Kingsmen, no less. So back to the drawing board and the worm hole starts off like a library record mixed with a space age bachelor pad samba before the shitstorm breaks on through to the other side and it’s a chanting Funkadelic face slap with skronking sax, nerve-shattering guitar scrapings and a few extra grunts to up the party atmosphere.
The title track is a jazzy, syncopated recital duet between Batoh Masaki and (presumably) Jan Shotaro Stigter that’s not unlike something from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Proggy guitar and keyboard flourishes stumble around while never quite gelling. If this is a concept album (or theatrical soundtrack), then ‘Big Buddah Eyes Opening Ceremony’ would work better with visuals, because the Crimsonesque sax invasions and rhythmic about faces are too disjointed to hold attention by those of us sitting at the keyboard imagining where the song is going next. Pot headed pixies and Gong fanatics may get more mileage than the rest of us.
The flute and sax dynamic that opens ‘No Expectations’ morphs majestically into the famous slide backing, and Masaki’s dreamy, stoney delivery retains the hazy, heroine eyes mood of Mick’s original. But no one really needs the 3,795th version of ‘Louie, Louie’. And the rest is just asymmetrical, highly syncopated noise excursions that will appease or offend, depending on how you reacted to their previous albums. For me, to borrow a phrase from Chevy Chase, “Jesus Christ, where’s the Tylenol”.