July 07, 2002

Silkworm "Italian Platinum"

After a year and a half, the boys in Silkworm get it together and release another good album. They all live in Chicago now, so perhaps that makes it easier to get together and write some kickass songs. On Italian Platinum, the band's seventh proper album, Silkworm seems to have expanded to a five-piece band complete with keyboards and backup female vocals by one Kelly Hogan, who actually sings lead vocals on one track. Still the only band I know of that rocks it with a baritone guitar, Silkworm done rocked it pretty good with Italian Platinum.

Now, I think it's swell that Silkworm have released this record. The packaging is a little disappointing (the only artwork consists of a row of little blue stars above and below the album's title), but the tunes more than make up for it. Wonderfully crafted songs (some of their best yet), with shared singing/songwriting duties between the group's three main members make for a handful of good songs to get Steve Albini to record, throw on an album, and release it on Touch and Go.

This album is reminiscent of Silkworm albums of yore, all of which sound similar in that "Pavement meets Television" sort of way, yet, all in all, sound quite different. The first track, Andy Cohen's "I hope U don't Survive", is an awesome power ballad of sorts whisking you away, back to the Firewater days of 1996. It reminds me a lot of "Nerves" from Firewater, acutally, with its slow rock tempo, its pop element,and its blistering guitar solos. "The old you" and "Dirty air" capture the style of the band's most recent albums Blueblood and Lifestyle, as "Moving" and "Cockfight of Feelings" could have easily been on Developer. The Tim Midgett-penned songs "The Brain" and "The Third" sound like they could have come off Libertine, and if that ain't old-school Silkworm enough for ya, Midgett's "Is She a Sign" sounds like it could have been on L'ajre! So, this album could be viewed as a trip down memory lane, if you are a Silkworm fan. If you are not a Silkworm fan, it's still a pretty kickass album to listen to when you're doing the dishes or drinking a 40 oz of High Life or whatever.

Italian Platinum starts off with great promise, but by the seventh song, it sort of loses momentum, and picks up again around track nine, "Dirty Air." "LR72" and "White Lightning" are good songs, but they just don't live up to the awesomeness as every other song on the album. But, hey, 11/13. --- that's not too bad. That's what I got on my microbiology quiz last week. If I were Silkworm, and if Italian Platinum were my microbiology quiz, I'd totally hang this shit on my fridge for all to see.

--Kyle Sowash

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