Silver Columns Silver ColumnsYes, And Dance
Even before the mysterious Iamamiwhoami took over the Internet –let’s see if Jonna Lee decides to show her face once and for all– there was already curiosity to know who was really hidden behind Silver Columns, small-scale speculation that left us with some most bizarre hypotheses. Part of the blame goes to songs like “Cavalier” and especially to the whirlwind album with a rhythm sort of like a hangover, called “Brown Beaten”. Had Jimmy Sommerville reformed Bronski Beat without anyone noticing? Or better yet: was Erasure making its definitive comeback taking advantage of the revival of the 80’s that we’ve been immersed in over recent years? Neither, actually. The mysterious duo had put out a remix of Peter Bjorn and John’s “It Don’t Move Me” and thus made their way onto the track list of the season’s “Kitsuné Maison”, the compilation that each year obligates us plastic cool-hunters to mark with a highlighter many of the bands that will be talked about over the coming months. Silver Columns insisted then on not giving anything away about their identity, and reasonable similarities continued to be the basis for all speculation.
The first time that I heard “Brow Beaten”, it sounded to me as if Hot Chip had discovered Hi-Nrg and were spitting the greatness of Patrick Cowley in our faces – remember that Joe Goddard did cover the song, increasing the perverse similarities, and that he did it singing in the affected falsetto that Sylvester or the aforementioned Sommerville use. But then, in a flash, their real identities were revealed. Silver Columns are Adem Ilhan and Johnny Lynch. The first was the bass player in an art-rock band called Fridge, which Four Tet participated in. Lynch sang folk under the name of Pictish Trail -without losing sight of his flirtations with electronic music- and he’s one of the men in the shadows who wear the pants at Fence Records, coordinators of the Homegame Festival at which, curiously, Silver Columns debuted live. Having answered this existential question, “Yes, And Dance” has finally arrived, a martial first album, obsessed with all of the possibilities of electronic pop, without massive pretensions, and thoroughly stimulating and enjoyable from beginning to end. There are no songs that lose the rhythm of the album. Lynch’s delicate folk vein can be found in “Warm Welcome” –despite being somewhat pastoral, from two and a half minutes in the song turns into an homage to The Chemical Brothers’ “Out Of Control”, and that calm shows us that they also know how to be introspective, especially borrowing electric organs from the Kraftwerk legacy in “Heart Murmurs”. Nevertheless, as the title of the LP indicates, its main goal is that we dance, shaking our groove thing in clubs where the more gay fauna cohabitate with that group of nostalgic people who are reluctant to admit that the 80s have passed.
“To Wake You” a chiptune lullaby with a souped-up chorus, and “Yes, And Dance” -the great moment when “Flat Beat” by Mr. Oizo merges with Casco and Alter Ego in an orgy of 8-bits– are two clear examples of what the Scottish duo are up to. “Always On”, shamelessly Hot Chip (here the similarities stand out a mile off) and “Way Out” -a hymn to be sung with your arms up in the air as if there were no tomorrow, over which the shadow of the Underworld floats- make this album unusual in synthetic pop: an artefact to keep spinning in your music player for weeks on end. Probably Silver Columns’ proposal will be overshadowed in the whirlwind of current events, and won’t receive the attention that it deserves, but nobody can take away from me the look of mouth-hanging-open astonished twat that I got on my face the first time I heard “Yes, and Dance.”
Sergio del Amo