Silverchair is one of those bands that, until they appear on shuffle, live mostly in the back of our minds. Still, back in the early naughts, they were one of the biggest names in rock and roll.
The young band stormed into the airwaves with their first single, topping at #1 in the Australian charts, Tomorrow, in 1994. They were just 15 or 16 years old! This was huge for me. I was only 5 years younger than Daniel Johns. He quickly became one of my musical heroes (plus, he married Natalie Imbruglia, I mean…). They released 3 albums (Frogstomp (1995), Freak Show (1997), and Neon Ballroom (1999)) by the time they turned 20.
Neon Ballroom (1999) was, undoubtedly, one of the defining albums in my youth. It had it all. For me, it was an artists’ album, from the intricate guitar tunings to the literary-inspired lyrics. It featured a whole new level of sound for them, coming from the teenage angst of their previous two albums. To me, the album was not only transcendental, but essential in building my love towards music. It is arguably their best album, and one of the best albums ever recorded (IMO).
Diorama (2002) followed. It featured some good tracks, but it failed to live up to my personal hype after the impact that Neon had on me. During the Diorama world tour, news surfaced of Johns suffering from reactive arthritis, and the band announced an indefinite hiatus shortly after.
They returned with Young Modern (2007), an album I honestly didn’t hook into. Its sound was nowhere near what I loved. Maybe I should give it another chance, 10 years later. It was their last album before going back into what they called “indefinite hibernation”. We’ll have to wait and see if and when they resurface.
Still, they are one of those bands that, whenever I listen to them, I get transported back, especially with Neon Ballroom and their earlier singles. They were, for a short time, the torch bearers of grunge, the natural heirs to Nirvana‘s sound and feel. They were natural artists, and for that, I will always respect them.
Listen to Silverchair below.