Cargo / Headhunter
By: Eric G.
The ghost of grunge looms large around Silo The Huskie. This Columbus, Ohio quartet churns through its twang-tinged rock songs with robust guitars and thick, heady percussion, sounding like an inbred mix of Neil Young, Built To Spill and Modest Mouse. The band deserves the esteem that association with such influences intimates, as the songs on this self-titled album – while occasionally bogged down by weak lyrics and common power chords – are abundant with impressive hooks and memorable melodies.
Redneck punk is the generic umbrella I'd hold over this band, but as is the problem with any pigeonholing term, Silo The Huskie is far more peculiar than such a description would imply. The opening track, "Hotel Mary Appalachia", mixes down-home harmonies with an explosive chorus and sharp buzzsaw guitars. I can't help envisioning some thick, dirty unshaven lumberjack as the singer. The band's pop sensibility is obvious in songs like "I Believe In Tornadoes", where clean octave chords blend with a huge raucous combustion to sound like early Screaming Trees sans Mark Lanegan's scratchy and depressing inflection.
The vocals have a clean backwoods kind of drawl, fitting somewhere between Built To Spill's Doug Martsch and Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. Silo The Huskie seems to have grown up on a steady diet of the Meat Puppets, Husker Du, and Crazy Horse. "Fifth Of July" showcases the band's strong harmonies, but the music surges with reckless punk abandon. On "While You Were Old" the vocalist does his best Neil Young impersonation; it's the first sign of actual mimicking as opposed to the typical osmosis of influences that bands go through, but, thankfully, it's not a trend.
Silo the Huskie cloaks its simple indie rock with a big 70's rock façade that when blasted through its stacks of amps ends up sounding like well produced grunge. The band has an arsenal of good tunes, but when it experiments outside of its tried and true power rock formula things tend to fall apart. One example is "Pug"- a mish mash of awkward styles (alternative country and lightweight balladry) with underdeveloped vocals and bad lyrics. For every misstep, though, there are twice as many solid tunes, so if the band just shaved off the excess fat you'd be hard-pressed to find much to complain about.