The Silver Seas, Chateau Revenge

The Silver Seas, Chateau Revenge

The Silver Seas’ recent album Chateau Revenge seriously runs the emotional gamut. You’ll hear blissful confessions of love, bleak break-up stories, and nostalgia for the way things used to be. But between the sugary sweet “Candy” and the world-weary “Home & Dry,” there’s a common thread that ties everything together — the permeating ’70s influence.

Daniel Tashian, the singer and main songwriter of the group, has plenty of reason to draw from that era. His parents, Holly and Barry Tashian, were both fixtures in the music world of the ’70s, especially his father’s early group Barry & The Remains, who played with the Beatles on their final tour. Tashian grew up in a house where Fleetwood Mac and the Louvin Brothers were on constant rotation, and much of that soft rock sound transferred to his own songwriting.

Having parents in the business is a serious asset to an aspiring young musician. In 1996, a teenage Tashian got a record deal and made the solo album Sweetie, an excellent rock album that is a testament to his talent as both a songwriter and a singer. From there, he went on to play with dozens of big names — Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse — and got significantly less attention than he deserved. In 2002, Tashian decided that it was time to start a project he could call his own, so with Jason Lehning, Lex Price, David Gehrke and Robbie Harrington (who later left the band), he started the group The Bees in Nashville.

Although The Bees remained unsigned and didn’t gain much notice outside of Nashville for their first few years, they made two quality albums, Starry Gazey Pie (2004) and High Society (2006). In 2007, a copyright issue forced the group to change their name, so they chose the pleasantly alliterative “The Silver Seas,” and re-released High Society on their new label, Cheap Lullaby.

With the release of their third album (or their fourth, if you count the re-release of High Society), Chateau Revenge, in 2010, The Silver Seas have made a gem of an album. Tashian writes lyrics that are sentimental and honest, while the band provides melodies that are anything but ordinary.

Although each song stands on its own, “Somebody Said Your Name” and “What If It Isn’t Out There,” alternately poppy and introspective, are my two personal favorites. “Candy,” a very Beach Boys-inspired piece complete with pretty vocal harmonies, is the most unabashedly poppy song on the album, and provides striking contrast to the next song, “What If It Isn’t Out There” — “What about what you told me / about how you been searching / for a new philosophy?,” Tashian asks, in a tired, sad voice.

“Help Is On The Way” has a glorious guitar line that belongs in a Clint Eastwood movie, and “Kid” sounds like Sinatra set to acoustic guitar. Each song goes in a totally different direction — all the while managing to form a coherent album. How exactly they do that is beyond me.

The throwback melodies and touching lyrics earn Chateau Revenge the title “instant classic.” It takes you from heartwarming to heartbreaking and back again. And you’ll love every step of the way.

(Cheap Lullaby Records --; The Silver Seas --; The Silver Seas (Myspace) --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, January 25th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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