The last five days for me have been utter hell. Anyone who has come down with a bad case of gastroenteritis will tell you the same thing. So, it has been an absolute blessing getting to listen to The Silkstones album The World Began With A Yes. No, it didn’t cure my dehydration like a big bottle of Gatorade, but it kept my spirits up at a time when I needed it most. This is an album that was created to comfort and sooth in times of pain. Mind you, it’s not devoid of vulnerability, but like a summer breeze during the pensive autumn months, there is a sense that everything is going to be alright.
There is something immediately familiar about The World Began With A Yes. This is because the band proudly wear their influences on their sleeve. In this case, I also mean this in a literal way. The font of the album cover is the exact same as the one used on George Harrison’s classic All Things Must Pass. This must have been intentional, since lead singer and guitarist Ryan Phillips is a dead ringer for the late, great, former Beatle. Even his talents as a lyricist are similar in that he very well could be addressing a loved one or a higher spiritual being. There is also a little bit of Thom Yorke in there too, best heard on the sparsely beautiful “Statues,” a performance that might remind you of Yorke’s devastating “Fake Plastic Trees.”
Despite these influences, The Silkstones have created a very memorable rock album that isn’t solely an homage to the past. “I Should Have Known,” “Better Alone,” “It Tells Me More (Than You Tell Me) and “Statues” are all instant classics in their own right; earworms that will haunt you for days. The best part is that these songs seems so fragile and unassuming that they almost risk being blown away by the wind. Philips and Dylan Jerome Wagner are such skilled songwriters that even if you think you’ve forgotten these songs, they were built to never truly disappear. It also helps that the production takes a more modern approach, instead of relying heavily on cliched classic rock tropes. Subtle moments like Wagner’s guitar crunch on “Better Alone” or Megan Brown’s violin passages on “Supermoon” are definitely much appreciated.
I admit that the second half of the album isn’t as strong. “Santa Muerte,” “Supermoon,” and “Lipspectre” are effective in their atmosphere, and they certainly do fit with the rest of the album. It’s just that after listening to this album so many times, I still can’t readily tell them apart. If they replaced one of them with a livelier number, it might have prevented the slight lack of diversity in the track listing. That said, every song on here is at least worth a listen. As I said earlier, this is a comforting album that is akin to a warm blanket on a lonely night or a sunset on the last day of summer. It may not stop the impending darkness (or in my case, trip to the bathroom) but for one shining moment it will give you peace.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*edited by Kate Erickson