“Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” and “Putting The Dog To Sleep”, on titles alone, are hardly party starters. Hell, even the brass-laden songs on 2014’s exemplary Familiars had more in common with the last post on the bugle than the uplifting fanfare of two-tone and ska. Yet, even by these dark standards, Silberman’s foray into solo territory has enough emotional heft to rival anything in what has so far proven to be an incredibly eerie songbook.
The subject matter this time around? Silberman’s temporary hearing loss and the frequent bouts of tinnitus that resulted from this ailment. “New York” finds him standing not as a stranger in a strange land, but rather an alien on his home planet, greeting confusion in his own suburbs and a disquieting strangeness outside his own door. What is familiar becomes unknown, Silberman’s reading of the world irrevocably altered by sensory impairments. It’s a wistful and elegiac ode to shifting perceptions that defines much of the material on offer. From the serene crooning of “Maya” through the twittering birds of the heavenly “Ahimsa”, this is an album with the tortured spirit of Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Radiohead’s The Bends at its heart. It is a work of infinite sadness and warm melodies, a hushed celebration of sensitivity that is at odds with the ever-increasing pace of the world.
And things only get gentler. “Karuna” places Silberman deeper into this hallowed domain of the brooding artist finding solace in his craft, its tender choir-like vocals both beautiful and cathartic. Such sprawling intensity rears its head again on “Gone Beyond”, a similarly mammoth eight-plus minute track that waltzes through an emotional gamut as delicately as David Attenborough reading a bedtime story.
In many ways, Impermanence is vintage Silberman, a sullen continuation of his preoccupations with the maudlin and the melancholy. And irrefutable proof that silence is indeed golden.