The Silent Comedy played a show at the Hi Hat a day in advance of the release of their new album ‘Enemies Multiply’, which is out today Friday, October 19th. They also have a show today at the Casbash in their hometown San Diego, but the show has been sold out for a while a testimony of their success. This album will be the band’s third full-length record, and the follow-up of their last full length ‘Common Faults’, which has gone through three rounds of CD re-pressings due to demand and has garnered tens of millions of streams and downloads. However, the story of ‘Enemies Multiply’ is a bit unusual, as its release was delayed for years for several reasons, one of them being the fact that brothers Joshua and Jeremiah Zimmerman didn’t want to be reliving the pain and frustration put into the creation of these songs. The project was shelved, but, after the 2016 election, they realized that these songs were embodying ‘A certain pall of outrage and desperation’ which had ‘settled over the country’ and that ‘the album now had greater cultural resonance’. It was time for releasing these songs: ‘At this particular moment in U.S. history’, declared Joshua in an interview, ‘ I felt like a lot more people could take comfort in the songs than ever before.’
According to a press release the title track and current single, ‘Enemies Multiply’, ‘is an examination of destructive personality types and how they affect the world around us’ and ‘stands as a defiant anthem in the face of a bleak reality’. And the show at the Hi Hat last night had certainly no shortage of anthems.
Before the Silent Comedy, the melancholic Loyal Lobos opened the night with a crystalline-pure voice above two atmospheric layered guitars, producing an intimate ambiance in a cathedral-like sound. Her slow quiet-loud songs gave me a sort of Phoebe Bridges vibe, d she ended up covering a song from her native Colombia. Then the trio Mourners played a set of catchy songs, a series of power-pop choruses so hooky that they reminded me about Weezer’s own compositions. Guitarist Jarrod Gorbel, formerly of The Honorary Title, also used to be in the band Night Terrors of 1927 with ex-Rilo Kiley Blake Sennet, which means he knows a lot about songwriting.
The Silent Comedy played many of these new songs as well as a few older tunes, but they insisted to tell us that these new ones were more gospel-oriented, may be acting as some sort of relic of their childhood, as the two brothers grew up with their missionary parents. The crowd was quite dense for a Thursday night, and the very appreciative audience respectfully listened to the quintet, which consisted of Jeremiah Zimmerman on piano, guitar, and vocals, Joshua Zimmerman on bass and vocals, Justin Buchanan on banjo, guitar, and mandolin and Chad Lee on drums.
They played with passion and agitation a few cathartic numbers, giving me, almost all-set-long, a strong Kings of Leon meet Mumford & Sons vibe. If the album is supposed to be a somber perspective, the tone was rather uplifting and they were moving on stage with a restless energy.
The older song ‘God Neon’ was a pleasant hard-hitting and foot-tapping number, just like ‘Bartholomew’, which brought the right amount of bluesy flair to wrap their big hooky choruses, while new ones like ‘Sharks Smell Blood’ had some blues-gospel swagger, all shook-up by explosive drumming and bold vocals. Starting from that, they showed their gritty Americana side with a series of more or less ravaging bluesy anthems, sometimes going to the full bombast as if they were a more Americana version of Arcade Fire.
Talking about it, they were most of the time on fire on stage but slowed down a bit during the all-harmonies ‘California Queen’, and they made their gospel influence shine at its brightest during ‘Eyes Upon Us’ and especially ‘Piece of Mind’, sang with a religious fervor and plenty of emotions. The entire set vibrated with choir harmonies and sing-alongs, while their expansive hooks were mixing swinging church organ with heartfelt intimate tunes, often exploding into an arena-rock dimension.
As for the message, the album ‘has a lot of stuff in there about people backstabbing each other,’ they declared in interviews, which caused some record labels to initially balk at releasing it. They let their full Mumford & Sons explode during the disheveled ‘Gasoline’, leaving people asking for more with the energetic and rocking ‘Heaven and Hell’ which seemed animated by a true early rock ‘n’ roll flavor… because despite this gospel flavor, the band truly knows how to embrace its true rock n’ roll roots.
Sharks Smell Blood
Light of Day
Break It Slow
Eyes Upon Us
No Saints Forgiven
Peace of Mind
Heaven and Hell
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem
a memorable band who were never better than here
almost Pink Floyd-esque