Diorama Album reviews.
Release Date: 08.27.02
Record label: Atlantic
Almost a New Band
by: clint poole
For many bands, the path to success consists of developing a small, devoted fan base, working towards critical acclaim, and thereby spawning introduction to a wider audience. Silverchair took quite the opposite route; moving quickly from local radio contest winners to breaking into the US top 10, despite scoffing critics, then proceeding to produce two critically acclaimed albums that couldn’t find an audience.
Perhaps their bucking of a time-tested formula had detrimental effects.
Silverchair made a big splash with its debut Frogstomp and the radio hit “Tomorrow” in 1995, and the ripples have been getting smaller ever since. The teenage trio emerged at the twilight of the grunge era, and their style strongly paid homage to their influences of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the like. As grunge faded, so did the band’s audience.
Diorama is the band’s latest effort to reinvent itself and stretch its artistic legs. While the last two albums carried over the heavy guitars and howling lyrics of their debut album, their latest production provides a fresh attempt at softer subjects and pop-sounds.
The album is overwhelmingly contrived pop-rock. With studio orchestras and engineered background sounds, Diorama has PG movie soundtrack written all over it. However, the album does display a transformation (albeit incomplete) from grunge rockers to true alt-rockers. On the majority of the tracks such as “World Upon Your Shoulders”, “Too Much of Not Enough”, and “Luv Your Life”, lead singer Daniel Johns puts in the effort to harmoniously sing us lyrics he would have previously screamed at the microphone.
We are also briefly blessed with the glimpse of the band’s potential; “One Way Mule” and “Lever” are true alternative rock songs, with heavy guitars delicately balanced with lyrics that grab your attention. Alas, they are the few bright spots on an otherwise muted album.
Diorama does provide us hope of better things to come from Silverchair, displaying a clear and decisive abandonment of their grunge roots. While this album reveals more progress to be made, the band no doubt has plenty of energy and desire to complete the metamorphosis. Because hey, they may be a seasoned rock-band but they’re still only in their early twenties! 08-Sep-2002 8:16 PM