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18 Candles: The Early Years

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Album Review

For latecoming fans of screamo kingpins Silverstein, this disc will be a welcome surprise: it brings together the complete contents of the band's first two EPs, Summer's Stellar Gaze and When the Shadows Beam, along with a handful of bonus tracks including acoustic versions of "My Heroine" and "Call It Karma," three live recordings (among them a blistering rendition of "Bleeds No More" featuring guest vocals from Aiden's WiL), and — bizarrely — a dance (more or less) remix of "Smile in Your Sleep." The EPs are both full of charmingly off-kilter touches, such as the violin that takes center stage on several tracks (notably the fine "Waiting Four Years") and what is at times an almost Robert Fripp-ish approach to crosspicked guitar arpeggios. The earliest tracks are tightly played but recorded with a charmingly scruffy sound, and it isn't until the second EP that the screaming really starts in earnest. There are moments on that part of the program — especially on the nicely crafted "Dawn of the Fall" — when the band sounds something like a cross between the Cure and Hüsker Dü. The bonus tracks, too, are more than just filler: "My Heroine" suffers a bit from an out of tune guitar, and the band's vocal limitations are more exposed on the live version of "Discovering the Waterfront" than they tend to be in the studio, but there's an amazing energy to the live recordings and the remix is an enjoyable curiosity.


Formed: 2000 in Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Originally formed in 2000 as a side project, Silverstein were launched by vocalist Shane Told, guitarist Josh Bradford, drummer Paul Koehler, guitarist Richard McWalter, and bassist Bill Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. After diving into Ontario's hardcore/emo scene -- which also included bands like Moneen and Grade -- Silverstein found an audience for their particular brand of shimmering emo and hot-blooded post-hardcore. Silverstein's self-released EP, Summer's Stellar Gaze, was quite well received...
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18 Candles: The Early Years, Silverstein
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