Tier 3

music / / poetry / / philosophy / / -ology by Nick Courtright

Album Review: Forces by Silver Pines

Silver Pines have one big thing going for them. And, no, it’s not that their band is based in the lonesome burg of San Marcos, Texas, which at more than a half-hour away is always looking up at Austin with the starry eyes of the semi-isolated college town. That one big thing Silver Pines have going for them is that their haunting, forever-reverberating songs are often pretty exceptional, and everyone who’s heard them seems to agree that something special is going on down I-35. Last year’s Fort Walnut EP served as an excellent introduction to the band, but this year’s Forces EP broadens their sound without compromising what made their earliest work so satisfying. Using all the best of country music—slide and even a singing saw make appearances—without falling prone to the genre’s more troubling cheesy aspects, the stage-taking septet crafts only the most gentle of tunes, and that sincere gentleness remains true even when the full strength of the band is involved.

The linchpin here is lead singer Stefanie Franciotti, whose calming presence both on the album and on stage allows the rest of the band to do its finest work. Her voice is forever distant, not unlike that of a long lost lover, or of other newly-revered vocalists such as Beach House’s Victoria Legrand or Fight Bite’s Leanne Macomber, and its pleading pain or burgeoning enthusiasm acts as the band’s most captivating asset. But that’s not to discredit the rest of the band, which holds Forces together admirably with steady rhythms and the occasional dose of flash, such as the guitar freakout at the four-minute mark of the EP’s first track, “Timefather,” the rollicking conclusion of mid-disc standout, “Payasito,” and the blistering second half of the album’s most vicious track, “Fortress of Daughters.”

It’s difficult to see the career arc of a band who has yet to truly give the big city a spin, and college-based bands have a tendency to evaporate not long past graduation, but Silver Pines—if they so desire to continue unabated—have prepped themselves for significantly wider appreciation in the indie realm, especially as other country-influenced acts such as Fleet Foxes gain seemingly unstoppable momentum. And the Forces EP, clocking in at an economical twenty-eight minutes, is an undeniably solid step forward.

Silver Pines MySpace

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