Silverstein singer Shane Told says he probably surprised himself by being able to achieve the initial lyrical vision he had for the band’s latest CD, A Shipwreck in the Sand.
The CD represented Told’s first attempt to write a full-blown theme album, and that meant a whole new challenge.
“I really thought it was going to be harder than it was,” Told said during a recent phone interview. “Actually I thought we were going to fail a lot of the time when we were planning it out.”
Instead, it became time for Silverstein fans to be surprised by what Silverstein has created.
Up to now, Told had been known for writing personal/romantic types of songs. Most notably, the group’s previous CD, Arrivals & Departures, was largely based around Told’s breakup with a girlfriend of seven years.
A Shipwreck in the Sand, though, is a sharp turn in a new lyrical direction, as Told has crafted a story that includes its share of commentary on the tough times in the world today.
Told said he was simply ready to try something different lyrically.
“I’m over the seven-year relationship that kind of was all over that last record,” he said. “I’ve moved on and I’m happier now and I’m more together, I guess. Now with the world the way it is, I felt like there was a lot I had to say about that.”
Told had also seen the economic crisis hit close to home, noting his parents have been directly affected by the downturn in the stock market.
“I’ve watched my retired parents start to really struggle, which I think is something that’s happening all across the world right now,” he said. “And it’s scary. Everyone thinks you’ve got these blue chip stocks and you’re going to be OK. And you’re not.”
Told tackled the subject by creating a story that would illustrate some of the problems that have emerged recently. In a nutshell, the album is about a family and the problems they face, although the story is not so simple or linear as that description might suggest, and some of the personal turmoil seems to have little to do with the outside world.
Nevertheless, the story turned out to be a good vehicle to allow Told to not only comment on the current economic hardships, but other issues that he would like to see addressed. Health care, for instance, is one subject at the center of the story.
“That is a big part of this story because the protagonist of the story is sick, terminally ill, and can’t get health care,” Told said. “That’s a big reason for the problems that he’s facing in his life.
“There are (also) some subjects about military and war and how much money goes to funding that and how little money goes to funding social programs for old people and for children and how the school budgets are getting cut and military budgets are getting more and more inflated. These are all problems that I think are fundamental to the way the world is.”
If the lyrics on A Shipwreck in the Sand break new ground for Silverstein, the group (which also includes guitarists Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford, drummer Paul Koehler and bassist Billy Hamilton) returned to some familiar methods for creating the music in the studio.
For one thing, the album reunites the band with Cameron Webb, who produced the group’s second CD, the 2005 release, Discovering The Waterfront. Mark Trombino produced Arrivals & Departures.
“I thought Arrivals & Departures was a pretty solid record, but kids weren’t as into that record as they were Discovering The Waterfront, for whatever reason,” Told said. “And I think we would have made Arrivals & Departures with Cameron except Mark Trombino was kind of our dream producer… But regardless we felt Cameron really understood what we wanted to do with this (new) record.”
Musically, A Shipwreck in the Sand is arguably the most cohesive and focused CD from Silverstein, which formed in 2000 in Burlington, a town in Ontario, Canada. It features the trademarks of the earlier albums – Told’s impassioned vocals, which alternate between full-on screams and singing, backed by the hard-charging guitars and hard-hitting beats that have always given Silverstein a punky edge to go with the considerable melody that’s packed into its songs.
Fans will get a taste of A Shipwreck in the Sand as Silverstein tours with A Day To Remember this spring. But Told said the band is not over-doing the new material at the expense of older songs fans already know.
“We are playing some new songs,” he said. “And we’re also going back and digging deep and playing some songs we haven’t played in a few years, too… So far I think people coming out to the shows have been really, really happy with it.”
Silverstein will perform Saturday, April 17 at Bogarts, 2621 Vine St., Cincinnati. A Day To Remember and August Burns Red are also on the bill. Music begins at 6:45 p.m. The concert is sold out. For more information, call (513) 281-8400 or visit www.livenation.com
Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at firstname.lastname@example.org