Things don’t always have to work to be appreciated. Independent record labels, for example, are very rarely ever going to ‘work’ in a financial sense, but they’re integral to any burgeoning music scene. So it is with great joy that the patrons of Manchester can welcome another imprint of chancers hoping against hope to make an impact with their releases – the simplistically titled ‘Tapes’. Unsurprisingly putting out limited edition, hand made cassettes, they make their bow later this yar with the release of a 4 track EP by Silent Age entitled ‘Symbolic Retribution’.
As a band, it’s fair to say that Silent Age don’t really work, either. Influences are drawn from all over and melded together to create something almost incomprehensible, bringing together stripped back industriality and a candid female vocalist in a way that barely corroborates. There are ill-fitting melodies against grim backbeats – blonde streaks in greasy dyed black hair. Their recording process isn’t the most typical either, with the efforts recorded entirely through the built in microphone of a Mac.
Still, somehow, it’s an enchanting mix, creating a charm entirely of it’s own as the music embraces it’s own flaws. The group don’t make pop music, and they’re at their worst when they try to – the opening track ‘Long Shot’ could’ve been made by any number of the many forgotten rock bands of the last 20 years. But when everything is pulling in the right direction, it’s astounding, as the EP’s sparse, final five minutes in ‘(Symbolic Retribution) for the disconnected’ shows exactly what Silent Age are great at – isolated music, made to be listened to alone, in basements. Splintered and cold it’s far from perfect, but that’s exactly why it works.