Unlike Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, which arguably set the trend or working on an album in a cabin in the woods, B.C.-based The Sylvia Platters, that followed the trend, have created an album that sounds nothing like the natural serenity of a forest. By instead labeling themselves as power pop, their debut album Make Glad the Day fits the pace of a hectic, mindless errand run through the city on a Monday. This is stomping music: Guitar-driven, upbeat, and loud.
The band’s sound mixes the classic elements of ’60s rock (hence the power pop) with the urgency of punk and the laid-back tones of surf, creating a very strange feeling of frantic relaxation. The snappy riffs sound like they want to wander off, but they never actually do. Barring a quick ballad-like interlude in “Bloody Knuckles” and the final track of the album, the pace is set early—there is no dawdling in these tunes, even when it really feels like there should be.
This is in part due to the vocals. Though the instrumentals borrow from older genres, the vocals take influence from pop punk: Think Diarrhea Planet, or even Green Day. This creates a harsher, almost jarring effect that is most prevalent in the more upbeat tracks on the album, such as “Boeselagerstrasse.” It’s interesting to listen to, but it doesn’t really work and takes away from what could otherwise be a pretty good sound.
The band prides itself on its mix of genres, and calls the album a “thrilling embrace of our fleeting existence.” Though the album does call into question the listener’s purpose, the better music is borne of the band not trying to be every single guitar-rock genre. Songs like “Girl With Curious Hair”—atmospheric and lazy, but still sticking to the pace—are where the band sounds most natural: Subdued vocals with colorful tones. The band aspires to create their own sound, but Make Glad the Day sounds best when it sounds familiar.
One could say The Sylvia Platters tried to do too much with the album, and that would be a fair assumption. The lyrics are forgettable, the details in the production are often questionable. The album certainly has a novel concept, but the execution is lackluster, and ultimately leaves the music without momentum in a heavily saturated industry. Guitar rock has many unique-sounding genres, and though mixing them is possible, this is not a good example of it.
Rooney meets Viet Cong, gets intoxicated, and puts on a show in a basement.
“Sleight of hand and twist of logic, solemn and severe.”