"Anthem for the Year 2000" Neon Ballroom
Releasing your third album before you
turn 20 is a pretty spectacular accomplishment. Daniel Johns (vocals, guitar), Ben Gillies
(drums), and Chris Joannou (bass) have done just that. They make up the Australian rock
group silverchair, who's brand new CD, Neon Ballroom, debuted at number one in
Australia and has already turned gold in Canada after only two weeks in release.
On Neon Ballroom, silverchair explores new musical sounds by incorporating
string instruments and piano accompaniment into a couple of tracks along with the
background vocals of an Australian children's choir on their first single, Anthem
for the Year 2000. This provides a wonderful change from the basic rock drum/guitar
sounds heard on their first two CDs, frogstomp and Freak Show, and
sets them apart from the other mainstream rock groups they've been compared to: Nirvana
and Pearl Jam. The change of sound may be due the band's heavier focus on writing music,
as they've had much more free time since they finished high school.
Although their sound has somewhat changed, their messages have not. silverchair differs from other
rock groups today because of their lyrics which explore some of the major issues facing
teenagers: suicide, abuse from parents, isolation and drug addiction. The first single
from Neon Ballroom proudly states "We are the youth, we'll take your
fascism away...." as it goes onto explain how teenagers nowadays are just powerful
and influential as adults.
During the four years silverchair has been on the music scene, they've ventured out on two world
tours. They've recently embarked upon a third world tour in support of Neon
Ballroom which has already taken them through Australia and Canada, and will soon
lead them around the U.S. and Europe. I recently experienced their show in Toronto which
was one of themost thrilling concerts I've ever attended. The stage is very simple, basic
lighting with funky neon bars outlining their amps and microphone, but the music is
extremely powerful. Daniel Johns creates an utterly eerie atmosphere with his vocals and
gestures while Ben and Chris pound out the music. It seemed as if the audience got totally
engrossed in the music for the band's 90-minute set.
As the three members of the silverchair continue to grow-up and mature, their music will
undoubtedly change with them. Hopefully they will continue to write music that explores
life and offers hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.