New York City based duo, Silver Relics, is Alex Sepassi and Justin Alvis. Their latest release, Generic., is anything but what the title suggests. Sepassi started writing songs and singing at the age of ten, and over the years his craft has been incorporating elements of the influences he listens to. This runs anywhere from 80’s indie rock and post-punk, to 90’s grunge. The duo’s songwriting first philosophy lends itself to this easy-listening album. The familiar song structures and melodic phrases give heed to pop-punk, while the instrumentation is rich and intriguing, with aspects of countless genres woven throughout the songs. Each tune brandishes a fun chorus, while the verses and intermittent instrumental parts hash out the soundscapes that Silver Relics build.
The production on this album is a bright spot. Sepassi has worked with New York producer, Howie Beno, since meeting him in 2016. The skills he’s honed in those years, evinced by the loaded yet not bloated instrumentals. The second song, “Generic,” opens with a cinematic string intro that eventually turns into an quasi-prog rock song with shoegaze elements interspersed throughout. Here, the verse and chorus are well defined apart from each other, and flow well in and out. While the songs are not structurally challenging or progressive, the way the atmosphere changes between these parts is noted and appreciated as a transition mechanism.
A standout song with a lot of grit, ‘Timebomb’, offers an edgier look at the band. Much of the song is unrelenting; its furious intro leads the listener into an anthemic chorus, as a beautifully effected shoegazuing guitar outlines the nuances in the chord progression. For fans of shoegaze like My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive, this album provides a shmorgishborg of tried-and-true shoegaze guitar tones that sit well on top of vintage synths and spry drums. The tenth track, “Yellow Master Motive” opens with a very intricate vocal part, performed to great effect. The opening instrumental that follows is lush and sits well behind the spotlighted vocals. There’s a lot of moving parts here, as the song slowly builds up into a rock anthem.
Overall, Generic. was an exciting listen. The energy is kept up, as Silver Relics blast out earworm after earworm while leaving traces of their influences hidden underneath the solid base of the song. The songwriting first philosophy the group took in recording this record really shows. What the songs lack in compositional variety, they make up with instrumental diversity. Huge ranges of tonality come together as a woven basket, with each influence offering an essential purpose to the whole product. Generic. is streaming now!
Key Tracks: Time Bomb, Yellow Master Motive, Wanderlust