Silent Gnomes – Dream – EP Review
Alright…I’m convinced. I wasn’t 100% sure I heard it at first.
When the opening track from the Silent Gnomes Dream EP began and got the energy flowin’ right off the drop, I’d be the first to say I’d be the last to complain about what I was hearing. ”I Need You” made for a solid start and good introduction to what this project is capable of, and the immediate burst of bright sound & up-tempo vibes instantly put forth a melody that could rival many of the melodies we know and consider to be timeless from the 50’s on up to this very day. So you see what I’m saying right? That’s definitely not a bad start…the first impression that “I Need You” creates is more than positive. If you’re anything like me and still lamenting the passing of Adam from Fountains Of Wayne and craving more of that unapologetic Pop/Rock sound…honestly, this record…this Dream EP from Silent Gnomes goes a long, long way right now in helping fill that void, which I certainly appreciate on a personal level.
But like I said…I still wasn’t hearing it yet.
What I heard in “I Need You” was undeniably fun, well-played & performed, and it generally hit that sweet-spot between Pop/Rock/Indie in a verifiably satisfying way…as I mentioned, I wasn’t complaining and I’m still not. But here’s the thing…
Sometimes as you progress through a record…not always, but sometimes, and hopefully more often than not…you’ll hear a song that surpasses your expectations to the nth degree and you have no choice but to look back on that second spin through an album or EP and realize what you’d heard at first was good, but not the full scope of the awesomeness in-store for you afterwards – you following me? Progression like that is always a great thing. So while “I Need You” definitely gets to the core of the sound & style of Silent Gnomes and pumps out a riotously melodic & energetic vibe to make sure we’re all paying attention as the Dream EP begins, the real magic is still hiding right around the corner, in my opinion. As in, I like just about everything about “I Need You” – in fact I must like it all because I can’t think of what I’d pick apart to criticize – but my point is that, when you hear a song like “Come Back To Me” it immediately transcends whatever ‘good’ might have meant. This isn’t a ‘good’ song at all – it’s an outright spectacular song, and it should be recognized as such.
And that’s when I knew I heard it.
It could have been the stunning Ben Folds-esque sound that seemed to start out “Come Back To Me” so delicately, or by that same token, how this song instantly ramps up to incredible heights in its melody – it could be as simple as the immaculate passion in this performance from Silent Gnomes or the brilliant emotion in the songwriting & vocals…whatever the reason may be, this second cut on the Dream EP was a complete confirmation that there’s something sincerely special goin’ on here in the sound of this band.
Incidentally, we’re saying band here…but from what I’m reading, it more or less comes down to Samir Chandra and his ideas & songs at the moment. You’ll hear session-drummer Taylor Clark add his stamp to the beat on “I Need You” and “Come Back To Me,” in addition to Aaron Kleer, Briana Gerdeman, and Josh Kirby jamming with Samir for a live-recording of the final track “Getaway” – and from the quality of the writing in all three of these songs, I’d expect that the lineup of players looking to jam with Chandra is going to continue to expand down the freakin’ block very soon. This dude knows his way around a song.
Hearing the expressive way “Come Back To Me” blossoms and expands with such inspired beauty is all-out exceptional; Silent Gnomes waste zero time in revealing the heart in this single-worthy song. I absolutely love the piano playing, I think the drums are pure brilliance, and the vocals…man…where do I even begin to explain just how right Samir’s voice is for music like this? He’s at the top of his game here and certainly upon this EP – he’s put in a performance & a half into his efforts on “Come Back To Me,” held nothing back, and yielded mesmerizing results. I think that even with as impressive of a start as you’ll experience with “I Need You,” the degree of appeal in the sound and the songwriting within Silent Gnomes all raises up to the next-level and beyond with “Come Back To Me” in a way we can all hear it.
What’s quite interesting to me actually came in the notes I got along with this record. If I’m reading all this correctly, Samir’s picked out the first two cuts as his favorites from the Dream EP…which is…well…I’ll put it like this – it’s going to be the conclusion that 99.9% of the people out there draw to as well…which KINDA makes these selections the safe choices. And there’s good reason for that – the first tracks are studio-pro, the third & final called “Getaway” is a live recording – most ears out there are always going to gravitate towards the studio-side of things on any album or EP that features both, that’s just the nature of the game. Samir, like myself, and like the rest of you out there as well no doubt, will all hear the same things when it comes to the quality of the actual recordings themselves…”Getaway” comes through clearly & cleanly in its live form, but you gotta dig the added punch of the production on those first couple cuts. But here’s what I’ll tell ya that no one else might…that doesn’t necessarily make them ‘better’ songs, know what I mean? I’d challenge that, by the time you reach the chorus of this third tune, you’ll at the very least have to consider what I’m saying to be the whole truth & nothing but the truth. I mean for real…you gonna tell me that, if Silent Gnomes had the time to bang this sweet melody out in the studio that it wouldn’t easily rival or perhaps even surpass what we’ve heard so far in “I Need You” and “Come Back To Me?” You gotta recognize the potential is absolutely there. Even here in its live form, “Getaway” comes out with such a rawness & realness in this moment in time that you couldn’t possibly miss the intangible specialness I was referring to earlier, it’s right there on display in the hooks for all to hear. I think that live-sound really plays a significant role when it comes to listening to “Getaway” – sure there’s a couple corners here & there that could potentially be rounded out a bit more, but that would damage the magic of the moment, which should be, and has been, preserved above all else. In trade for flawless studio perfection, you get perfection of a different kind altogether – the kind of moment you can tell was worth remembering…that’s what “Getaway” symbolizes to me, and I think it was a great move to preserve it in whatever way Silent Gnomes could, even if it might split the people’s opinion on this particular EP…the songwriting is top-shelf and the vocals come out radiating emotion. Believe me when I say…you get Samir in the studio with a week’s worth of time and he’ll show ya the magic of melody in action on a pro-recording of “Getaway” – it’s like Silent Gnomes are giving you a taste of the live experience at the end of this EP, but also a preview of what’s in-store for the future of this band as well…and I dig that. Lots of great things to come from Silent Gnomes over these next years I’m sure – these songs on the Dream EP highlight the fact there’s genuinely something (or many things) special in the writing & sound that’s gonna completely connect to a ton of hearts & minds out there listening. I love what I’m hearing in Silent Gnomes and fully confident you will too.
Find out more about Silent Gnomes from the official homepage at: https://silentgnomes.com