Silent Kids: Tomorrow Waits

Nikki Tranter

Silent Kids

Tomorrow Waits

Label: Two Sheds Music
US Release Date: 2003-03-25
UK Release Date: Available as import

Ever thought about revisiting that one crucial summer that changed your life, the one you wish you could do over? Maybe it was that first date with Lizzie Franco when you accidentally told her you hated her new Flock of Seagulls haircut? What about that time in Indiana you vomited right beside James Dean's grave in front of about 65 leather jacket-wearing strangers? Whatever the memory that needs altering -- kick your shoes off, pour yourself a shot of homemade Kahlua and travel back in time with the Silent Kids.

There's good reason the Kids' second release, Tomorrow Waits, evokes memories of times long gone by -- the Atlanta foursome's brand of psychedelic pop is of the sort rarely heard since the Merry Pranksters traveled the bumpy road to their first Beatles concert. The cool thing about the album is that after a genuine look under its sofas, through its cupboards and behind its fridge, there's still absolutely no trace of modern vibe anywhere to be found. The Kids have taken their Brian Wilson, hippy-hoppy, 1960s free love influence and spread it through 11 songs (including a couple of instrumental pieces) on what is ostensibly a soundtrack to a more innocent, slightly more mellow, past.

The opening track, "Drift into the Summer", beams with immediate familiarity, sounding somewhat like the theme song to an Eight Is Enough-type spin-off TV series. The song lays the brickwork for the entire album, showcasing the band's strengths and weaknesses right off the bat. This, like many others on the album, is catchy from opening to completion, shifting moods quicker than Lizzie Franco that night at senior prom. It's up and happy, kicking out the jams one minute, lowly and depressed having lost its "saccharine view" the next (it never wanted to). The song also reintroduces the listener to that much-missed bastion of psychedelia, the Moog, with Silent Kids bassist Jeff Holt and singer Michael Oakley each having a turn weaving spaced-out, whirligig noise throughout.

Alongside the marvelous Moog, the album has the Kids busting out tape loops, drum machines, and a variety of samples complimenting soaring guitars and a heavenly drum beat. All this comes together especially well on "Miami", with so much ripped from another era, another world even, that it could almost have been brought to you directly from Venus circa 1972. Its samples, loops, and rock guitars meld to create a delicate pop song with Beatles-inspired hooks.

"A Great Leap Forward" is another example of just how well the Silent Kids are able to use a wide variety of classic musical styles to recreate the sounds of the '60s, adding their own supernatural twist with more out-of-this-world blips and bleeps, alongside sultry guitars and an underused tambourine. "Perfect Office Street", "The Bering Sea" and the moody instrumental "Lost in the Petrified Forest" are among the darker cuts, coming as worthy alternatives to the more energetic tracks otherwise flooding the disc.

High, low, racy or ruminative, whatever the case, almost every track on Tomorrow Waits is ready and waiting to take the listener back to a bygone era where everything was far less chaotic. This album is a welcome change from today's evermore technologically enhanced music, too, using old-fashioned tools to build a sound that manages to be as refreshing as it is well worn -- no mean feat, by any means.

Their time may have well passed, but that's not gonna phase these sprightly boys and girls, because wherever they might be in their minds, whatever era they may wish to go back to -- as the Kids themselves say on "Miami" -- we can appreciate them now.

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