‘A Beautiful Place to Drown’ album review
album: A Beautiful Place to Drown
release date: March 6, 2020
star rating: three out of five
review by Brennen Smith
A Beautiful Place to Drown might be a good album to decide to quit listening to Silverstein if you’re a loyalist to their older post-hardcore sound. Starting with their 2017 album, Silverstein has been more noticeably moving toward an overall pop sound. They maintain some of their punk and hardcore sound by still making use of screaming here and there (most noticeably at the end of the bridge section in all of their songs with a guest artist) and hitting on the theme of dealing with bad feelings repeatedly.
Notably, the first two songs on the album, “Bad Habits” and “Burn It Down,” begin with the chorus—an homage to the increased reliance on formula and pop in the new album. The formula isn’t bad; both songs are genuinely catchy, and the bridge breakdown on “Burn It Down” with Caleb Shomo, lead singer of Beartooth, is genuinely enjoyable with the interlaying vocals of Silverstein’s Shane Told. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more under the catchiness and the gloss other than the occasional breakdown throughout the rest of the album.
Shane’s voice is very enjoyable to listen to and is one reason the album still holds up as decent. For someone who never intended to be the band’s original singer, he has continued to improve in his vocals. The high range he reaches on the song “Infinite” elicits the horror of eternal turmoil. On the other hand, the lyrics are fairly vague and lacking. They seem formulated in order for the maximum amount of people to be able to vent about difficult relationships and bad feelings. Sadly, the incredible storytelling of albums like This Is How the Wind Shifts and dealing with difficult subjects like suicide in “Late on 6th” from I Am Alive in Everything I Touch are missing.
Overall, A Beautiful Place to Drown is likely lacking for older Silverstein fans, but it’s a decent album if you’re just looking for some catchy tunes that help you feel cathartic. Silverstein moves to some more upbeat-sounding songs in the latter half of the album with “Say Yes!,” “September 14th” and “Take What You Give,” which includes the lead singer of Simple Plan, Pierre Bouvier, and has a melody that evokes the pop-punk of Simple Plan.
The best songs on the album are “Shape Shift” (which features a clever staccato chorus), “Burn It Down” and “Infinite,” featuring Aaron Gillespie of Underoath and The Almost. The multitude of guest artists on the album leaves a bit to be desired with the big names, but they add some flavor to the mix of songs. The song “All On Me” is a bit of a miss, but it’s an interesting R&B direction. Least memorable songs on the album are “Stop” and “Coming Down.”