Throughout our lives, we must all make decisions that can lead to drastically different outcomes and change us completely. Later down the road, we might think about what might have happened if we did the opposite in a particular situation; "what if..." is a question that we commonly ask ourselves. With their latest studio album, Silverstein has explored this idea. Shane Told said of This is How the Wind Shifts: "it's a discussion of life, of loss, of and, of success within failure, of failure within success, of the struggle between your actions and your feelings, and how those don't always go together."
Silverstein has always been a band that hits home for me, and their consistently stellar outputs and outstanding live show skyrocketed them into my list of all-time favorite bands. This is How the Wind Shifts, the seventh Silverstein studio album to date, is not only some of their best work, but it is also their most intriguing album yet. The album consists of fourteen tracks and each one is paired with another. These pairs ("Massachussetts" and "California," for example) tell different sides of the same story. These stories explore what would have happened if one course of action had been taken over another. This is How the Wind Shifts is not your typical concept album, but it's among the most interesting.
This is How the Wind Shifts picks up right where Silverstein left off with Rescue and Short Songs: a healthy blend of their signature post-hardcore sound mixed with some of their undeniable punk influence. This album is both new and familiar; tried-and-true, but also fresh. Silverstein also has a fresh face with this release: lead guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau. Rousseau had considerable shoes to fill, but he did so admirably and helped to somewhat rejuvenate the band. He lends his vocal stylings to "Arrivals" and, while I was initially put-off by his singing voice, it has grown on me quite a bit.
Much of what can be heard from This is How the Wind Shifts is what one would expect from Silverstein, but it avoids feeling stale, boring, or just flat-out irritating. The instrumentation is top-notch, as always, and Shane Told's vocal performance is extremely passionate, heart-felt, and absolutely superb. Told's lyricism is also brilliant, as usual, and it is even more remarkable given the nature of the album. Once you realize that the songs are paired (which I, admittedly, did not immediately notice), the lyrics become that much better. You really get the sense that there is a story being told from different perspectives across these pairings.
If you're a Silverstein fan, you will most likely be very pleased with This is How the Wind Shifts. Even if you listened to Silverstein a lot in your middle-schools days and haven't really given them the time of day since then, give this album a go and you might be pleasantly surprised. There are several songs that could be construed as "filler," but once the greater scheme afoot becomes more evident, these songs seem more meaningful. There is a story being told here and it is a story that I believe many of us can relate to.
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