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"Pale Silver And Shiny Gold"

Sad Day For Puppets – Pale Silver And Shiny Gold
06 September 2010, 12:00 Written by Adrian Mules

Zombies eh? Back in the early days of Romero’s black and white flicks they ambled about, bumped into shit and got confused by a fence. Admittedly they were pretty eerie, but if you were fleet of foot and didn’t back yourself into a corner your chances of survival were pretty high. But then something happened and the buggers started to run, and I mean really run. Pelting around like Ben Johnson after the stanozolol van, certainly much faster than you or I can fumble ammunition into a rusty old revolver. A similar transformation appears to have taken place to Sweden’s Sad Day For Puppets, as their spooky but sedate debut Unknown Colors has been superseded by the more urgent and high-tempo Pale Silver and Shiny Gold.

Those spooky undertones haven’t been discarded though, far from it. Their ethereal charms now swirl with a cyclonic velocity that when combined with richer and fuller production make their early recordings feel like demos in comparison. From the opening doubled-barrelled vocal assault of the Eklund sisters on ‘Sorrow, Sorrow’ through to the closing blare of ‘’Tingle In My Hand’ it grabs you by the scruff of the neck and propels your through its curios like a runaway ghost train.

As the first bars of the second track, ‘Such A Waste’, burst into life many might lurch toward their MP3 player to check it isn’t set to shuffle and hasn’t accidentally skipped onto Dinosaur Jr. – such is the reverence for Massachusetts’ favourite sons. But it’s not plagiarism or Dinosaur Jr Jr (or should that be Dinosaur Gransdon?), their passion for the complexities and nuances of J Mascis build upon his work rather than trying to offer up a poor facsimile of the virtuoso.

Whilst it’s easy to focus on the increased depth and ferocity that the band has achieved in such a short time, it would mean nothing without the song-writing. Fortunately this has also grown in line with their other facets. Across a dizzying variety of styles there are infectious riffs and melodies a-plenty; album high-point ‘Touch’ instantly leaps out as a classic even on the first play. But after several weeks it will be standing room only in a subconscious populated almost exclusively by the puppets.

Pale Silver and Shiny Gold is a sophomore album that delivers on the promises made by their debut and then some. Too often bands best ideas are spent in the first year. But these cupboards are far from bare and if they remain on this trajectory world domination would seem like a real possibility.


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