In 1995 I was a wide eyed 12 year old who had just started to discover this thing called music. While I wasn’t a teenager when the grunge music era all but collapsed, it still had a hold on me. A strange thing happened in the 90s after Kurt Cobain died. It wasn’t just the death of grunge, that happened well before the suicide of the unintentional speaker of a generation.
Something new was happening. The post-grunge movement in rock was largely discounted by mature rock critics, but there was a new group of musicians that were inspired by this punk garage and dirty rock called ‘grunge’ that birthed from the Pacific Northwest. Yes, ‘alternative-rock’ was the genre that was assigned and for lack of a better term, we’ll go with that.
Silverchair released their debut album Frogstomp in mid 1995. This group of 16 year olds was written off as a Pearl Jam/Nirvana facsimile but I always though there was something more there. The lead single, Tomorrow is what most people remember from the band but upon another listen to the album there was a maturity in the song structure and sound.
The album begins with it’s two singles Israel’s Son and Tomorrow then moves into a rhythm of dark yet sensitive lyrics that peel back layers of more than teenage angst. One of my favorite tracks, Pure Massacre has a chords with a heavy metal influence. Shade is one of the ballads on the album with a oddly comforting blues solo. The last half of the album does seem to be a bit scattered like a journal with mis-matched thoughts, but as a solo record the foundation of a great rock band with recognizable influences is there.
Silverchair went on to release four more full lengths including their second (my favorite), Freak Show. In 2011 they broke up, singer Daniel Johns said they had formed the band when they were 12 and decided when it stopped becoming fun they had decided on ending. The band could come back but it’s always interesting to press rewind on your favorite albums years later to see how they hold up. Even 20 years later I still relate to the angst of these Aussie youths, especially in today’s climate.