Empty Orchestra/The Silverbird Band - Split 7” Record Label: Capeside Records
Release Date: January 2009
If you really think about it, there aren’t that many active “americana” bands in 2009. In reality, Son Volt is about all you get as far as americana in the mainstream these days. And, if you ask me, americana is NOT the same as a folkie singer-songwriter like Ray Lamontagne. Flint, Michigan’s own Empty Orchestra is one of the few acts getting by as an americana act. Forming from the ashes of several former Michigan indie acts, the whole lot of them (I’m talking like 14 members) recorded an EP, then a LP, a live EP and now this most recent split 7” with The Silverbird Band.
Empty Orchestra has good song writing on their side, that is for certain. The opening track, “It’s All True”, gives off a nice Whiskeytown vibe. Beyond that, their frontman, Stephen Wisneiwski, gives off a hard 90’s vibe, that might not leave listeners as nostalgic like the band may have hoped for.
The second track makes we wonder if an entirely different band came in to record. “The Ballad of Bulls Run” is a sonic and lyrical powerhouse that’s brevity makes it shine. It comes to memorable close with gang vocals to inspire a riot. The lyrics like “We had one arm behind our back/The other balled up in a fist” have such a great punk feel, it makes me want to kick someone’s ass.
On the b-side of the 7” we have the now defunct San Diego based band, The Silverbird Band. Their lone track, “Sophie Says”, left me generally underwhelmed. An average performance of an average song by a band that has a fairly non-descript sound. Nothing bad, but nothing ill be remembering a week from now.