The Silent Comedy – Friends Divide EP review

The Silent Comedy are a rock group based out of San Diego, California. They have been garnering a great deal of attention recently, attracting a sizeable fanbase with their brand of folk and Americana-tinged music. In doing so, they are growing rapidly out of the bar scene that they once called home. In that way, their music tends to reflect their roots and upbringing.

To that end, I’m not sure I’ve been exposed to a more accurate sonic representation of bar culture. And I’m almost positive that’s not a great thing. In the romping blues-pop tune “God Neon,” the single from their latest Friends Divide EP, one can almost hear the beer bottles being cracked open and the crowds of intoxicated twenty to thirty-somethings talking over their set. The Music News Nashville blog claims that the way to best experience their sound is to see them play live, and I’m convinced that such a thing would only further prove my point.

They are far from “bad.” It’s clear that they have some chemistry and talent as a group, and the six-track Friends Divide has a solid range of songs (from the raucous “God Neon” to a slower, folksy “Simple Thing”), all executed very well in terms of musicianship. But I think The Silent Comedy’s least desirable quality is, unfortunately, the whole package. I can’t shake the “bar band” image that they’ve built themselves up on. The members of the band, neatly bearded and seemingly clad for a night out are subject to and simultaneously a product of the image-conscious microcosm of bar life. Their music is upbeat enough to hold a tipsy audience’s attention, but lacks any further depth that could impact a listener at home. Their music seems to rely on swaggering bluesy guitar riffs and choruses that take up most of the EP. Perhaps their live show is, then, something to be experienced for those interested in such a group.

The Friends Divide EP is a classic example of plain music veiled by hype and loosely applied genre tags in an effort to give any kind of credibility. While The Silent Comedy reached a level of success with their last full-length record, Common Faults, it seems that the follow-up Friends Divide would serve as their real breakthrough effort. The Silent Comedy is not undeserving of attention, but I feel as though it should be taken with a grain of salt. The content on their most recent EP is fine (if not predictable), but lacking in any real substance. The “God Neon” single appears first on the record, leaving something to be desired for the duration of Friends Divide as soon as the dust settles. The remainder of the EP goes through the motions of a vaguely Americana-inspired rock record, ranging from slower and somber to harmonious and slightly uplifting (namely the final track, “Ghosts”). The Friends Divide EP may compliment a Friday night out, but is slightly underwhelming in any other situation.

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