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High Society

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Album Review

Rock has come roaring back in recent years, and it's now de rigueur for critics to hear most music through a '70s prism. Thus the Silver Seas (formerly the Bees) have found themselves tagged as soft rock and mentioned rather bizarrely in the same sentence as many of that genre's singer/songwriter heroes. In truth, though, the prior decade seems to be where the group draw much of their inspiration. Their harmonies, for instance, oft times echo the Beach Boys, particularly on the lavish "We'll Go Walking" and the bouncy "Hard Luck Tom," although "Ms. November" is the best girl group-styled song ever sung by boys. And then there are Daniel Tashian's marvelous guitars, which shimmer, shine, and jangle, a sublime blend of Big Star and Byrds, especially notable on the brilliant pop of "Imaginary Girl." On the rumbling "Catch Yer Own Train," Tashian shifts into western style, while the harmonies and a wailing harmonica pay homage to the British Invasion. The rhythm section of standup bassist John Deaderick and drummer David Gehrke tint the set with an R&B brush, a style that keyboardist Jason Lehning often emphasizes, particularly on the dreamy "Taitville" and the boisterous "The Country Life." However, he's equally at home purveying elegant champagne piano, best heard on the shadowed "She Is Gone" and "Dream of Love," the latter counterpointed by Tashian's laid-back strumming guitar. But even Lehning's most extravagant work is downplayed by his phenomenal production, which beautifully burnishes all the instruments, then artfully places them in a warm and glowing amber setting. This is pop as it never really was, gentle, but glorious, lavish, but never glossy, a set filled with fabulous arrangement and instantly memorable melodies — variously clap-along, joyous, luxurious, or musing. A stunning achievement.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Daniel Tashian (vocals, guitar) was already an established solo artist when he enlisted the help of producer/keyboardist Jason Lehning to fashion the '70s-inspired classic pop/rock of the Silver Seas. Formerly known as the Bees (U.S.), the group formed in Nashville, TN, with John Deaderick (bass) and David Gehrke (drums) rounding out the lineup. The band's self-pressed debut disc, Starry Gazey Pie, was released in 2004 and received support from such influential radio stations as Boston's WFNX and...
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High Society, The Silver Seas
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