Silent Forum Releases 'Everything Solved at Once'
4-piece Silent Forum are a contrary bunch. Cardiff dwelling but lacking the quirky and often dulcet left-of-centre pop of their Welsh contemporaries, Silent Forum instead offer up a much edgier angular noise, perhaps more representative of the gritty streets of London from which they originally came.
Yet Silent Forum’s sound isn’t straightforward. It’s a textured, technicoloured trip that separates it from punk’s three chords or post-punk’s monochrome doom. Silent Forum have been described, very fittingly, as an “uncouth Talking Heads” (Buzz magazine), sharing a sophistication and playfulness of the latter with “the progressive pop sound of XTC and the new wave idiosyncrasy of Squeeze” (Destroy/Exist). Or as Silent Forum put it, many of their songs are “punky without being punk.” Rejecting both geographical and musical pigeonholing, the themes of ‘Everything Solved At Once’ also veer towards the unexpected. Avoiding cliched break-up or party tracks, Silent Forum’s album is in part themed around a disgruntled office worker, with an awareness of the tongue-in-cheek humour in juxtaposing corporate life lyrics with jagged punk numbers.
One single Spin is an observation of the boredom and misery of the average office worker, whilst Robot offers a character piece written from the perspective of a jaded, stressed and deskbound employee. The bleak lyrics, “I feel a shortage of high pressure in my life/ I need the office chair/ I need spreadsheets I hold dear/ I love coffee, I hate beer”, play out over a merging of 70’s punk and early noughties jangling indie of a Good Shoes variety.
Other songs are themed on Silent Forum’s experience of being in a band, such as How I Faked The Moon Landing, an exhilarating shape-shifting track reminiscent of Simple Minds’ Berlin dance scene inspired new-wave, or more recently The Horrors, Skying-era, whilst taking influence from LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture.
Released as the album’s first single in 2018 it ironically picked up a tonne of BBC Radio play given its lyrics: “Music’s not business, we’re destined to be a local band not on the local radio.”
Whilst album track Pop Act is a 6-minute pop song with a deep dark groove, written as a two-fingered response to a DJ who called the band too serious. Elsewhere on the record Silent Form touch on Spanish folk music on Credit to Mark Sinker, with its wonderfully chaotic mix of trumpets, discordant guitar lines, sleazy bass and Flamenco pattern; there’s the “face-melter” Outmoded, a track indebted to David Gilmour’s transition into noise-rock; Safety In Numbers dips its toe into British folk style guitar (curtesy of some Nick Drake influence), crossed with Nu Jazz drumming and a nuanced Johnny Marr guitar jangle; Kind of Blue is jazz inspired with a subtle touch of baggy’s stoner haze; Great Success is awash with The Cure-esque nostalgic melancholy, and album title track Everything Solved At Once is deliberately ‘pop’ with a Samba like break-down. Silent Forum have a special magic whereby their music has echoes of every seminal band you ever loved across every pioneering and forever fresh genre of the last four decades, yet crammed into edgy, enthralling, infectious songs with a fervent originality and unrivalled energy.
Silent Forum have previously released three singles, How I Faked The Moon Landing (2018), followed by Robot and Safety In Numbers (2019). The singles have collectively had over thirty BBC Radio plays, including BBC Radio 1 (Huw Stephens), and lots of love from BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru (with support from Adam Walton, Janice Long, Lisa Gwilym and Bethan Elfyn).