Review: Silverchair, Freak Show (Epic)

By J.D. Considine (Baltimore Sun)

The members of Silverchair are barely the age of high school seniors, so it's tempting to make jokes about the relative maturity exhibited by the group's sophomore release, Freak Show. But the album would stand as an impressive achievement of musicians twice as old.

True, some of the riffage is a bit on the simplistic side, as with the sledgehammer subtlety of Roses and the sludgy repetition of Slave, and there are moments (Learn To Hate, in particular) when singer/guitarist Daniel Johns seems a tad too indebted to Kurt Cobain. But those are fairly minor failings overall and do little to diminish the pleasures of those tunes, much less of such exuberantly melodic material as the Indian-tinged country rocker The Door. Moreover, when silverchair truly does find its groove, as on the throbbing, resentful Freak, its blend of lyrical intelligence and melodic muscle makes the band seem much wiser than its years.