Silverchair, Freak Show

By Greg Kot (Chicago Tribune)

Complaints about Silverchair's imitation grunge on their platinum 1995 debut album, Frogstomp, were deflected by the Australian trio's undeniable teenage enthusiasm, their zest for spiking brooding guitar progressions with killer melodies and Daniel Johns' gutsy-beyond-his-tender-years voice.

On the follow-up, silverchair remains beholden to its Seattle heroes (Lie to Me energetically knocks off Nirvana's Negative Creep), but adds harder, heavier inflections borrowed from Helmet, Ozzy Osbourne and the Rollins Band.

The band also widens its sonic horizon to include string orchestrations and Eastern textures, and, after the relatively chaste debut, stumbles onto drugs and kinky sex, subjects which Johns addresses with all the insight of a kid paging through a dirty magazine for the first time.

But the pummeling guitar rock is done with an undeniable sense of finesse and dynamics, and the threesome again exhibits a knack for the ear-catching hook that sets them apart from many of their influences.