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Silvery Thunderer and Excelsior Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Silvery won't struggle to find an audience for this deliciously chutzpah-saturated debut.

Michael Quinn 2008

London quartet Silvery have already been drawing deserved attention for their carefully crafted and craftily curated forays into musical eccentricity of an especially British kind.

They are this year's Darkness, though it has to be said they acquit themselves with bucketfuls more sophistication than the Queen-wannabes. The cover of Thunderer And Excelsior, Silvery's 14-track debut, features the silhouette of a gas mask-wearing man in a bowler hat with a gun and a lance sitting on what looks suspiciously like a polo horse. Yes, they're that wacky!

Silvery are unabashed about acknowledging their eclectic musical references – 'from Bowie, Blur, Sparks to XTC'. They could just as easily have mentioned Ten Pole Tudor, Madness and even Nirvana (assuming the gurus of grunge had ever toyed with the idea of Happy Hardcore). If TISWAS had been a band rather than a TV show, this is how it would have sounded.

The sheer naked affrontery of it is appealing. Strangely, it induces happiness. Perhaps it's the giddy obviousness, the heady amphetamine drive, or the incontestably infectious conviction of it all? Silvery are The Kinks for the Sunny D generation.

You won't have to send for Forensics to recognise the musical DNA that drips from every note: Sparks are here throughout and after the scuzzy guitar intro of the opener, Horrors, at the point where the Ron Mael-strom keyboard kicks in, you’ll find yourself anchored into the worryingly accelerated heartbeat of Silvery.

That said, there's an undeniable charm (or grating irritation if you're that way inclined) about listening to a track like the operatically-structured Revolving Sleepy Signs, which starts with a drunken pastiche of Queen before moving into Fun Boy 3 territory via XTC en route to the hallucinogenic-tinged world of Bowie at his Ziggy peak to conclude in a magnificently gregarious mess of sounds. This is perfect last-hour-at-the-school disco material.

Enough said. Silvery won't struggle to find an audience for this deliciously chutzpah-saturated debut. Whether they can develop to keep it, may well prove to be another matter.

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