Hailing from the decrepit, countrified neo-lo-fi downbeat dis-glamour of New York are The Silent League. Admittedly, perhaps NY is a little more ‘up’ than that, but it’s not what you’d think from the sounds that emit from the quintet in residence.
Lead by former Mercury Rev* collaborator, Justin Russo*, it’s clear to see that the vision on 1997’s ‘Deserter’s Songs_’ was a shared one through the band, from the core duo outwards. Certainly many sensibilities have been carried through to Russo's new outfit.
For this band’s brand of heaven-gazing chamber pop is forged from the same fire. See the title track’s weeping George Harrison-esque guitars, the sparse piano and guitars of ‘Goliath’, which is in itself a distant relative of Mercury Rev’s ‘Spider’s and Flies’, whilst the gentle anthemic qualities of single ‘Breathe’, offers falsetto-ed majesty. It’s not all Donahue and Grasshopper though; ‘Motion Pictures’ in all its brevity reminds us of the quiet majesty that was the Delgados circa 2002, and ‘Conversation’ sees the band on a plaintive Lambchop tip.
Throughout ‘The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused’ runs the coherent theme of creeping, haunting lullabies, and that furrow which sees The Silent League ultimately master their own unique beauty.
And if we were to compare it again to the Catskills Mountain inhabitants again, we’d also tell you that it was much better than that band’s latest effort too, but truly, the Silent League’s own time has come.
8Gareth Dobson's Score