90s Score: 8.5/10
2016 Score: 9/10
The name Moist makes many women shiver. For some, it’s the mere mention of the word that does it, while for others, it’s the thought of lead singer David Usher. Two very different conditions that display similar symptoms. But in 1994, when “Push” and “Silver” hit the airwaves, not many were left indifferent.
There was something different about Moist’s sound even from the rest of the angsty grunge acts that were emerging. They were dark and brooding for sure but somehow, at the same time, they seemed playful. You could headbang to it, or you could dance to it. Moist’s style was the type of groovy brooding normally reserved for The Cure’s best work. The raw sound came from the fact that this was originally a demo recording. They recorded the album on a self-financed budget of $2,600. It was intended to be a demo that would attract the attention of a major label. Well, it succeeded. EMI signed the band and released Silver completely untouched.
The opening track, “Push,” grabs you violently by the back of the head and makes you move. It’s a powerful track that’s full of bravado, and it is a microcosm of the album, wherein you’re not sure if you mosh or dance. “Believe Me” follows it up and brings the tempo down. It’s a sombre track, but there’s beauty in its sadness. The same can be said of the absolutely haunting title track, “Silver;” it takes you to a dark place you don’t mind visiting. “Break Her Down,” on the other hand, is just plain unnerving. The lyrics and tone of this track are enough to make Caligula blush. Only once have I ever asked a musician about the meaning of a song, and in reply, David Usher only gave me a coy smile.
Silver then has another side of the style. Tracks like “Kill For You,” “Freaky Be Beautiful,” and “Machine Punch Through” bring you back to a frenetic pace. They punch you in the gut and leave you asking for more. They dare you to stand still. They’re rock n’ roll meets grunge at the intersection of groove.
This album is one twisted rollercoaster. It brings you up and down and spins you in every direction. It’s schizophrenia pressed into (at the time) polycarbonate. Moist is one of those Canadian bands that mysteriously never made it south of the border and one of those bands who made the alt-rock scene in Canada unique. Silver is, without a doubt, their masterpiece and recorded on an anaemic budget. Listening to it again today, it sounds every bit as good as it did then and is a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter, bubble gum that currently spins on alternative radio. For that, I’ll bump it up a notch.
Written by Richard Brunette
*edited by Danielle Kenedy