In the past several years, there’s been a small collection of exciting artists coming out of Dublin who are offering idiosyncratic, raw interpretations of the rock and post-punk canon. There’s the literary intensity of Fontaines D.C., the art-y chamber-pop of Paddy Hanna, and the noise- and techno-infused explosions of Girl Band. (The latter two have ranked as Stereogum Artists To Watch.) A couple months ago, I went to Dublin for Hard Working Class Heroes, the CMJ-style festival aimed at showcasing emerging Irish talent and the event at which I’d first seen several of these artists perform. This time around, I came across another new name who appeared ready to join their ranks: Silverbacks.
Onstage, Silverbacks’ style mostly skews towards a classic, wiry iteration of post-punk. Rather than favoring the skeletal and sparse variety of the genre, Silverbacks boast three guitarists. Their songs often have interlocked lines that tighten and tighten until the band lets it all break open and every musical idea cascades over each other. Their lineup has garnered them comparisons to Television’s layered guitar work, but others have also heard echoes of more recent forebears like Parquet Courts. The latter might be a coincidence of shared reference points; in general, Silverbacks come across like a contemporary Dublin band but definitely bear DNA from the NYC art-rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
You can find some older material from Silverbacks, when they were still honing their sound. But things really started to click in the last year, with the release of singles “Just For A Better View” and “Dunkirk.” Both hinted at the power of Silverbacks’ three guitar assault, songs erupting from coiled post-punk riffs to little eruptions of distortion. The latter in particular was infectious, a slinking exercise in building tension until the song finally spills over. Now working with Girl Band’s Daniel Fox as producer, Silverbacks are preparing their debut full-length for a 2019 release.
Today, we get an early preview of that by way of their latest single “Just In The Band.” Unlike its predecessors, “Just In The Band” doesn’t slowly build itself up. Rather, it begins breakneck and doesn’t really let up from there — the drums gallop forward, the guitars shape-shift constantly, and Daniel O’Kelly’s sing-speak delivery seems to grow more frenzied than before. It’s another promising installment in Silverbacks’ early output, a suggestion that their forthcoming album will be an overdriven display of gratifyingly dense guitars and vocal hooks alike. Check it out below.
“Just In The Band” is out tomorrow. Silverbacks will release their debut album in 2019.