Silent Age is a five-piece post punk band from Chicago Illinois. Their debut studio album Display came out in 2019, consisting of ten tracks with highly infectious melodies and encompassing sounds from the new wave era of the 80’s and 90’s. Captivating synths and a lush production highlights this album, with songs graced by pleading vocals and heartfelt lyricism.
The band’s name is a reference to the black-and-white movies of Charlie Chaplin, and this imagery seeps itself into the band’s sound. There’s a classic and nostalgic feeling to this record, giving nods to beloved acts like The Sound, The Cure and The Chameleons, while adding a signature that’s uniquely of their own.
Opener “World on Fire”, although apocalyptic in its themes is very dancy and moving with its melodic intricacies. The synths glide through the mix like gossamer and silk, while vocalist Patrick Donahoe’s performance feels very raw and vulnerable. This is consistent within the album, with strong vocals giving each of their songs the weight and gravitas they evoke.
“Drift Away” is no different. The vocals feel far-off in the distance, with hints of despair and longing. The guitars weep with empathy – engulfed in an oceanic timbre – really driving home the themes of separation and pain.
Although their sound hovers on the dark and gloomy side of post-punk, some of these songs have an urgency and bounce that keeps the listeners on their feet. “Charred (Wildflowers)” is a good example and one of my favorites in this album. With a rhythm that keeps pressing forward and lyrics filled with conviction to be reunited with a lover. The line “I will wait” becomes more poignant with every repeat. It’s follow up “Wall of Faces” follows a similar sentiment. More determined and courageous, with driving rhythms and hopeful riffs rounding out the emotional layers of this whole offering.
What’s great about Display is that it keeps this consistency all through the end, with plenty of surprises up to the final act. “Icesun” feels frigid with it’s crystalline arpeggios that evoke images of a fractal sky. It feels like being lost in an arctic tundra with equally strong lyrics to back it up. The album ends with “Complex” — by far the one with the most moving parts. It goes through a wide array of emotions from brooding, to bittersweet, to mournful, wrapped in an ominous and hazy backdrop.
For fans of post punk with heartfelt sentiment, Silent Age’s Display is the perfect album. Carrying with it the influences from the greats while adding their own spin to the genre. Display is available on streaming platforms via Play Alone Records.