When the Telephone Rings
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by John Metzger
Despite a 19-year existence, The Silos has struggled to rise above its status as a band with a cult-following, although the perseverance of frontman Walter Salas-Humara is certainly something to be admired. After a brief flirtation with major label RCA in 1990, the group nearly collapsed when co-founder Bob Rupe departed for greener pastures, and although he eventually landed a gig with Cracker, his partner was left with the shattered remains of an ensemble that just couldn’t seem to build enough momentum to carry it to the next level. Now firmly entrenched within its second life, the collective, having stabilized around its current line-up of drummer Konrad Meissner and bass/lap steel player Drew Glackin, is making amends. On its latest endeavor When the Telephone Rings, the group sheds the experimentation of Heater as well as the garage-rock emphasis of Laser Beam Next Door to reveal the type of back-to-basics, roots-rock approach that best suits Salas-Humara’s songs. Far from perfect, the album does slip into stereotypical staleness on the sleepy title track, and the endless repetition of Innocent as well as the largely forgettable The First Move don’t fare much better. However, there are moments — such as the buoyant bounce of It’s Only Love, the twang-filled folk of Whistled a Slow Waltz, and the percolating groove of Holding on to Life — when The Silos strikes gold by utilizing the emotional depth and sincerity of its heroes — most notably Robert Earl Keen, Neil Young, R.E.M., and Alejandro Escovedo — to form a few glimmering nuggets of its own.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box