Pulse Shots | August 2015
By Tom Cadrin
Sometimes emotions wiggle their way to the surface without warning. Anything can trigger them. Perhaps it’s the way the wind is bending a tree, or that smell in the air just before it rains. Or maybe it’s suddenly wondering whether we’re doing what we really want to be doing with our lives. Experiences like these ~ some minor, some major ~ happen to most of us every day, but it’s certainly not every day a musical act comes along that can capture these moments of our existence. My Silent Bravery (until recently, the Matt Shwachman Band) has released a new album entitled Are You Prepared? and with each track, delivers a hint of nostalgia and a suggestion of hope that moves the listener.
This album is a ride. From dancing in your shoes to questioning your purpose, each track solidifies My Silent Bravery’s ability to employ catchiness as a catalyst for social, personal and political awareness and change. Going from a singer-songwriter project to a comprehensive, full band experience, the sounds and intentions here demand attention. With each song, specific elements of various genres are intentionally thrown into the mix in order to create both the best sound possible and the most moving experience possible.
A “much more spiritual” album than previous MSB offerings, Are You Prepared? examines not only interpersonal relationships but “…a person’s search for something bigger. I have always incorporated elements of spirituality into my writing,” says lead singer Shwachman, “but here I really went for it.” And even if you are leery of music that attempts to invoke in its audience such introspection, these songs are presented in such a way that no matter what their lyrical content may be, the musicianship is at such a high and enjoyable level that you’ll find yourself forgetting your objection to thinking and feeling. As an updated, more funk and rock oriented version of the Matt Shwachman Band, My Silent Bravery adds a sharper edge to their established and well-honed pop signature. The result is an invigorated collection of tunes that beg the question, Are You Prepared?, all while getting your feet moving and your head bobbing like a great album should.
If you’re a fan of catchy rhythm guitar (Dave Matthews), sweet vocal hooks (Jason Mraz) and label-indie-electro pop (MuteMath), this release is right up your alley.
And definitely get to a live show soon.