Silent League, The – The Catbird Seat

The Silent League may not be a familiar name, but it is a project lead by Justin Russo, who was involved with Mercury Rev (he played the piano on “All is Dream”) and participated in many other acts. This month their debut album “The Orchestra, Sadly, has refused” will be released. If this single is a representative taster, much can be expected of the album, because ‘The catbird seat’ is certainly a fine appetizer. Russo is supported by a whole range of other musicians, The Silent League has an extensive line-up both in the studio and on stage. Apart from the usual guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, piano, trumpet and other string and wind instruments play a part.

The music is not so easy to describe. It certainly has a clear ‘pop’ sound, with an accessible melody. But there also elements of orchestral/chamber music. The overall mood is strongly melancholic and sentimental, on the verge of being pathetic. The sound is also rather nostalgic and timeless, reminding of late 60’s/early 70’s psychedelic popsongs of for instance early Pink Floyd/Syd Barret, Nick Drake or John Cale’s “Paris 1919”. It took me a few listening turns, but then I was really grasped by ‘The Catbird Seat’, which I can easily play five times in a row, and then probably only like it more. The piano and longing voice of Russo are the dominant elements, but as the song evolves more and more sounds enter the sonic picture. On the back a John Lennon cover can be found: ‘Why’, just a sweet, simple piano ballad, which stays close to a classic Lennon/Beatles sound.

By the way, this single is the first release for Desolation Records, based in Richmond, USA. Certainly a good start!

artist: Silent League, The
label: Desolation Records
details: 7', 2 tracks [DR001]