Ok so through the 90’s us British music lovers were awash with bands who provided a poppy 60’s influenced sound that made all our lives something special for a very short period of time. Then there were bands like the one I’m writing about today who found fame in the charts with a sound like no other band. Yes that sound was pop but looking back now it was a British version of power pop and had an American tinge surrounding full-blown fuzz guitars and Beach Boy harmonies.
I would like to introduce Silver Sun.
Writing a pure pop song under 3 minutes is a very hard thing to do. The Undertones did it with the simply perfect Teenage kicks some 18 years before Silver Sun came on the scene but to have a whole album crammed with 3 minute pop perfections was a tall order but the band did it with their self-titled debut in 1997. Ok so not all songs are under the three minute mark as some waver slightly over but I have to hand it to them for perfecting an album that constantly gave me an ear worm through 1997. I still credit Silver Sun for making me buy my first fuzz pedal for my guitar and every song I would write sounded like a cross between Slowdive and Iron Maiden (I don’t even like Iron Maiden!).
As I’ve said before their self-titled debut album was pop perfection in my eyes. With tracks like Lava with its distortion and harmonies to the softly sung Yellow Light we found a band who could write very, very catchy singles and to top it all off create an album that sounded like a best of compilation. British music was booming at this place in time and Britpop had reached it's middle age in 1996 and this is when bands started to find their own sound and Silver Sun were a prime example to this fact. They had a sound like no other band of the time, I used to like to call it “Mono vocal guitar stereo” as they had a knack of making their songs sound one dimensional but introducing other instruments in wide stereo, sounds great on headphones! So with the release of the album they released four singles with it and each one just jumped of the shelf when I wondered into my local Our Price (a now defunct record shop for the non-British reader). The single covers saw a retro 50’s/60’s sci-fi landscape of giant ants, Band members and an overly tanned television presenter.
The band toured behind the album throughout 1997 and 1998 supporting most of the bands that we loved at the time and released their second album Neo Wave in late 1998. With this release they scored their biggest hit Too Much Too Little Too Late which was a cover of the Johnny Mathis song. And then they were dropped by their record label. Yes that’s right we hit the dreaded year of 1998, the year that the Britpop balloon finally popped and most record labels washed their hands with their bands. But unlike most bands Silver Sun continued to record throughout the 2000’s with the albums Disappear Here, Dad’s Weird Dream and the latest album A Lick And A Promise in 2013.
I like to read other blogs about Britpop and the music scene around this time and while some are fantastically written I have the feeling that they actually didn’t live in Britain over this period. Maybe it’s just me and maybe I was a music anorak back then but I seem to remember things slightly different to what im reading. Yes Silver Sun were a small band but they had a major impact on the scene at the time and were quite prolific with the music papers and the radio. I even remember my local record shop running out of copies of the single Lava on its first release and I even used to play it at my local indie night when I used to DJ for a local pub and I always got a great reaction when I played them.
So when you read about "The greatest Britpop band that you’ve never heard of" just take it with a pinch of salt and enjoy the music as it was intended. YES there were bands who didn’t make it and bands that also remained small but ALL of them contributed to the scene and helped paved the way for the bands of today.
Silver Sun shone brightly for the time they were in the public eye and helped a fledging music scene to rise above and put Britain back on the map and show the rest of the world how it’s done. You might not regard Silver Sun as Britpop but let’s just split the word up shall we?
Brit Pop……… I rest my case.