The Dubliners return with a second album that somehow refines and improves on their excellent debut
Post-punk isn’t usually fun. Maybe that’s why it’s never felt like quite the right pigeonhole for Dublin’s Silverbacks. While their intricate guitar work and jerky rhythms recall Television’s sprightliest tunes, there’s a playfulness in there too that is more reminiscent of more grin-inducing bands like Pavement, Talking Heads or The Feelies.
Fun is the overall feeling curated by the quintet’s superb second album, Archive Material. It’s not frivolous or throwaway in terms of themes or musicianship, but it’s hugely lovable and a remarkably good time. Throughout, Daniel O’Kelly’s arched eyebrow and Emma Hanlon’s sweetly soft delivery act as a sugary coating for the lyrical content, which frequently nods to the tedium and unease of life in pandemic times.
It’s a testament to Silverbacks’ skill that this never surfaces as “Won’t someone watch my livestream?” ennui or po-faced social soapboxing, but more an extension of the surreal existential crises that pock-marked the band’s debut. ‘Different Kind Of Holiday’ and ‘A Job Worth Something’ respectively explore the universal senses of uselessness and community spirit that arose in lockdown, the former wedded to a strutting march that makes it feel almost like a call to arms.
Throughout Archive Material, there’s a feeling of a world sometimes changing too quickly but too often not at all. ‘They Were Never Our People’ laments the footfall lost to a new bypass while ‘Nothing To Write Home About’ turns tedium into a energetic groove. All the while, Silverbacks stand midstream and document it all. None of it is ever anywhere near as much fun in practice as it sounds in their recounting, but that’s what makes Silverbacks so compelling. Through their prism, everything is worth dancing to.
1. Archive Material
2. A Job Worth Something
3. Wear My Medals
4. They Were Never Our People
5. Rolodex City
6. Different Kind of Holiday
8. Central Tones
9. Recycle Culture
11. Nothing To Write Home About
12. I’m Wild
Listen to Archive Material on Spotify: