The Silent Section: Contour Of A Passing Dream
Tryghed & Tristesse

Like Ceremony, the band with which it has much in common, The Silent Section arms its pop songs with a crushing, guitar-fueled wall-of-sound that isn't so overwhelming that it overshadows an equally strong concentration on melody and song structure. Formed by Nicolas Carlsen, Morten Møllebjerg, and Morten N. Carlsen in 1999 in Odense, Denmark, the band now follows its 2009 debut album A Final Delirium with Contour of a Passing Dream. While Ceremony is a clear reference point, Jesus & the Mary Chain and Joy Division are others that emerge during the album's forty-three-minute ride. True to form, The Silent Section's echo-drenched vocals are prominently positioned in the mix but also accompanied by an omnipresent swarm of guitar wail and pummeling drums—and bass, too, if you're listening closely enough to hear it.

While a number of songs are ferocious, others pursue slightly different lines of attack. So for every “The Voice That Got Away,” an echo-drenched anthem that roars at peak volume for five glorious minutes, and “Spirals of Self-Destruction,” a pulsating fireball that churns like some long-lost track from the Closer sessions, there's “Breadline Stories,” which would be pretty close to being a plaintive folk ballad of timeless character if its layers of guitar textures were stripped away. As it is, a melancholy heart can still be heard beating at the song's center, an effect enhanced when the guitars simulate a protracted wail of agonized heartache. And by adding synthesizers to the band's atmospheric sound, “Drifting Ahead Backwards” finds The Silent Section in haunting shoegaze territory, even if the group's signature guitar wail gradually asserts itself during the epic's second half. Tremolo shudders and anguished vocals add to the desperation pouring forth from “No Admission to Dream,” and no better example of the contrasting sides of the band appears than during the album's closing tracks: after the guitars swell to a particularly incinerating pitch during the aptly titled “Storm Surge,” the instrumental setting “A.J.C.” ends the disc with three peaceful minutes of delicately pealing guitars and harmonium wheeze. There is clearly light amidst the dark, and the ten songs on Contour of a Passing Dream reveal that the group has more than one stylistic trick up its sleeve.

December 2011