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Show Review

There are big things happening on A Silent Film's new, self-titled album. It's a vibrant and dramatic collection of pop-rock anthems, not unlike the arena-honed craft of contemporaries like Coldplay and The Killers. In celebration of its release, The Oxford UK outfit recently swung by our Brooklyn pad for a stunning session.

In conversation, Spencer Walker describes the band's music as sounding like, "If you were in a dry riverbed and then from the mountain came down a giant stream of paint and it just hit you in the face." Which is exactly why we wanted to get the band in our studio after premiering their interactive video for their single, "Lightning Strike" last month.

In session, the band dials back some of those expansive sonic properties on record into an acute, acoustic formation, allowing both the power and the diverse color of their songwriting to cut straight to the surface. "Lightening Strike" is here, along with inspirational album opener "Something To Believe In".

But there's probably no more powerful moment than when singer Robert Stevenson sits down alone at our 1928 Steinway and belts out the delicate, yet emotionally devastating closing track, "Where Snowbirds Have Flown". When Walker mentioned A Silent Film's music hits you right in the face, he failed to touch on the impact it has on the heart. This is emotionally compelling music of the first degree. Give it a spin in our incredible new session.

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Transcript

about our first trip to New York was definitely that we actually heard our song on the radio while sort of driving into New York.
So with that skyline and sort of that feeling when you're coming from such a long way when you admire a city so much, the feeling of knowing that you deserve to be there, that you're almost being invited to be in this important city is just amazing.
remember that our manager at the time booked us into the Holiday Inn just across from Manhattan.
- Jersey side.
- Jersey side.
It was like "We're going to New York!" and then we never actually made it to New York.
Don't you leave me all undone
But don't you leave me in a foolish heap
on the floor.
Don't you leave me with the light on
Got a hunger that I need your attention for
You've been getting me fired up
Then you ignore me while you're fooling around with your friends
Don't you leave me on the back seat
And don't you leave me with my engine running again
Are you ready for a big show?
I've been waiting for it all of my life I see a storm on the horizon
Are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for lightning to strike?
Don't you leave me in the morning
Don't you leave me with this half-drunk bottle of wine
It's not a metaphor for what we have
Or a metaphor for what we could be leaving behind
I'm a stranger you befriended
on a night when you needed some warmth in your veins
Are you ready to be needed?
Are you ready for the hurricane that's heading our way
Are you going to make your own choice?
Are you going to light 'em up tonight?
Cause you're the storm on my horizon
And I am ready for the lightning to strike
Are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for lightning?
Are you going to light 'em up tonight?
I'm reaching out for you
I don't believe this is an ending
I don't believe it with it with you standing in the pouring rain
You wouldn't dare to set the cliche.
You wouldn't stop me when I just got up the courage to say
that I'm ready for a big show
I've been waiting for it all of my life
Don't treat your heart like a broken bottle
You can't make it with a love that's not right
Are you calling out in your own voice?
Don't turn your back on me tonight
Cause I'm the storm on your horizon
and are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for, are you ready for, are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for, are you ready for, are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for, are you ready for, are you ready for lightning to strike?
Are you ready for, are you ready for, are you ready for lightning to strike?
- I like the idea that it's as Lightning Strike and as you sort of see the song at face value could be about a one night stand.
But if you read deep into the lyric, it's clearly about something more than that and there's a longer term story there which I like.
I love imagining there's a sort of John Cusack character with the ghetto blaster over his head, in my head, when I'm singing and thinking about that song.
And that to me I just enjoy that.
That's really cool.
- It was really when the single came out in America that it sort of just escalated a little bit.
We were just really fortunate on that first single.
I think someone very wise told us at that point that the best thing we could do, is if you want to actually take advantage of it is to, I think his words were, "Tour your asses off.
" - I think the touring life has definitely always been, it's almost like we were being held back by something up until... So I have no problem with the hardships that come with touring.
- There's nothing you could do-- - No substitute.
- No substitute for getting in front of an audience and cutting your teeth, there's no, there's just no... - You always have to be open to the fact that there's always more to learn and just when you think you've probably covered every situation that could possibly happen on tour, the next day something happens and you're like that's so weird.
How do we deal with this? I'm a flickering flame without your touch
You give me something to believe in
And deep where the concrete meets the rush
I need something to believe in I'm not waiting any longer
You give me something, something to believe in
I can't shout it any louder.
So give me something, something to believe in
You give me something, something to believe in
You give me something, something to believe in
I am floating on a wave in the atmosphere
Give me some other reason
Spiraling out there's no doubt it'll all disappear
So give me something to believe in. And I'm not waiting any longer
You give me something, something to believe in
I can't shout it any louder
So give me something, something to believe in
You give me something, something to believe in
You give me something, something to believe...
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day
I'm not waiting any longer.
You give me something, something to believe in
I can't shout it any louder.
So give me something, something to believe in
Give me something, something to believe in
You give me something, something to believe in
- I think that we work very well as a pair because we have a lot of complimentary skills.
- We met at school, principally.
We were both in different bands, very competitive.
We were actually competitive drummers.
- The band's based in Oxford in England and we live sort of around there.
- But right now we hang our hats in the back of our van.
- It's a van hat wearing time.
- It sounds like if you were in a dry riverbed and then from the mountain came down like a giant stream of paint and then it just like hit you in the face.
That image is what I think the record probably sounds like.
That's the closest we could probably say.
So I think we were excited to do this record and just not hold back.
And if we felt like a song had to go in a certain direction, we took it as far as it would go in that direction.
It's just positive and it's optimistic and it's hopeful but it's still got the emotional sort of draw that we're really...like that's just a big part of what we do.
- We hope that our music has meaning to people.
That's certainly something we set out to do.
We don't want to be part of fad or just a band that is cool to like.
We want to be a band that actually means something to people.
And I think that's what we achieve, certainly on stage, with the stage show and that's at the very core of what we're trying to do, I guess that's what's important to us.
Where the snowbirds flew one by one
to the farthest point from the sun
Over evergreens and fjords like lightning strikes in the living rock
Oh where daybreak meets the dusk with a warm embrace
and our shadows stretched like rubber bands
I will meet you where your white skin and the snowbirds have flown
And I will meet you where your white skin and the snowbirds belong
We must leave this place where regrets are bricks
and we're building these walls with alarming pace
Will you go with me where animals sleep
through ferocious echoes from underground
And where love rolls through your body like thunder and I am the storm cloud
I will meet you where your white skin and the snowbirds have flown
And I will meet you where your white skin and the snowbirds belong
Well don't you, you belong.
You belong. You belong
We'll go where you belong.
You belong. You belong

Artist Bio

A Silent Film are an English alternative rock band from Oxford. The band consists of Robert Stevenson, Karl Bareham, Ali Hussain and Spencer Walker.

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A Silent Film

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