Review – Nathan McNevin & The Silence Factory

Album:  Collection of Thoughts
Release Date: February 1, 2016
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Genre:  Impressive Debut Album All Around

A Rock and Roll Riddle: What do The Trews, Finger Eleven, My Darkest Days, Glorious Sons and, today’s review, Nathan McNevin and the Silence Factory, all have in common?

A Rock and Roll Answer: They are all past winners of 97.7 HTZ-FM’s Rocksearch, of course! (For those of us who don’t live in Ontario, the 97.7 HTZ-FM Rocksearch is “a legendary hunt for the best new Rock band across Southern Ontario. In the past, [Rocksearch] helped launch some pretty awesome Canadian Rock acts who’ve gone on to be some of the biggest around…” (http://www.htzfm.com/rocksearch/2016/)

Rising from the ashes of critically acclaimed SieraSlave, Nathan McNevin and the Silence Factory (or NM&TSF as they will be referred to for the rest of this article) forge multi-influenced radio rock with virtuoso playing,  brave arrangements and sparkling production with their debut release Collection of Thoughts.

Drawing on modern rock acts Reignwolf, the Living End, Billy Talent, Our Lady Peace, and Matthew Good, mixed with the classic sounds of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, NM&TSF are helping usher in a new wave of emo-rock with the listenability of pop, the intensity of emo, and the power of hard rock.  This band has a sound that the riff aficionado, the hip dance, and the tortured writer can go to on a date together and all enjoy the show.

In music cinema and folklore, audiences appreciate the story of the long term musician plugging away for decades until finally making it, are awed by the sudden risen star, the musician who is discovered and instantly famous, or, through a series of fortunate musical events, creates a spontaneous and rapid name for themselves.

NM&TSF fall into the latter category, a group who, since forming last November, have had a series of serious commercial accolades including winning the 2016 97.7 HTZ-FM’s Rocksearch, being a Regional Top 10 finalist  for CBC Searchlight, and being the 2016 Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Festival Battle Winners.  NM&TSF carries a mighty rock and roll axe drawing serious blood with each swing.

The first track “Land” opens with an electronic industrial vibe kicking into a big guitar riff and horror, Rob Zombie rhythm guitar, then continues to sound like the Living End writing a song for Billy Talent.  As a bonus, “Land” has a well-shot, horror tinged video with a rubberized monster hand symbolizing emotional conflict and distress.  Or maybe it is about a rubber monster hand…

“Unhappy” is a groovy, pop rock, sing along tune in the vein of the Wheatmonkeys with a nod to British vocal phrasing. It’s a song that makes feeling unhappy the happiest part of someone’s day.

“What Are You Doing” is the first glimpse of early Jordan Cook (Reignwolf) in a medium blues with shredding guitars.  The back ground vocals are a mix of Oasis produced by Matthew Sweet, open “ahs” with well-produced harmonic pushes.

The title track “Collection of Thoughts”, “Dead Heroes”, and “Home” are Oasis having a few non-pretentious days writing solid tunes with Raine Maida making a few guest appearances on vocals.  “Dead Heroes” and “Home” have the added touch of a string arrangement and the big, medium-paced open Oasis sound with emo-effected vocal pushes at the end, Paul McCartney if he fronted a metal band, or if the Rheostastics performed for a passing by ferry boat on the rocky beaches of Brighton.

All parts, shots and breaks are played in air-tight unison.  Over-all, there is no slack on this album, production value is seamless without any misused space.

Lyrically the album discusses self-discovery, self-loss, and the repeated travels taken between the heart, mind, and soul.  At times allegorical, at times pointed, listeners are taken on various emotional, physiological, and spiritual, journeys.

The closing tracks, “Prelude to Goodbye” and “Last Goodbye” are microcosms in the study of popular music history and forms.  “Prelude to Goodbye” is an acoustic guitar song in the classic style of Jimmy Page with the open chord intensity of Pete Townsend.  “Last Goodbye” continues the open Led Zeppelin rock transitioning into the Police for the verse, with Billy Talent guitar tracks in the back half.  The chorus evokes Our Lady Peace melodically, sonically and vocally, referencing back to the Police / Billy Talent side project for the verses.

The arrangement is surprisingly smooth, from style to style and sound to sound.  The only jarring moment is the digital silence between the two songs.  That being said, the space was most likely created by streaming the file and probably does not exist in the cd or downloaded format.

Nathan McNevin & The Silence Factory’s debut album Collection of Thoughts is a well-versed, well-written, well-played rock romp with pop grace and slick stylings.

Collections of Thoughts is available on bandcamp.com and their leadoff video, “Land”, can be seen on youtube.com   Nathan McNevin & The Silence Factory are part of the Ontario Rocks Mini Tour and Mini Tour II in October, and are playing the Horseshow Tavern Friday, October 21st in Toronto, ON.  

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