(the) Silent Days are a French band from Belgium that play a relaxed and lush indie pop. They just released the California EP, and I must say it is quite the pleasant listen. Unfortunately, that’s about all I can say. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this band, but they simply don’t make a lasting impression. Julien Bouchard, band leader, just writes quaint songs that seem like great open mic night material. While the tunes are good, they are ultimately not catchy enough.
“Dead Singer” opens things up as the most accessible piece, sounding like a poppy Tahiti 80 song without all the electronic blippy goodness. This is the best song, which one usually isn’t supposed to start things with. Next up is title track “California,” and it is slow and lush, but a tad too long for its own good. That’s another problem here; the band likes to repeat choruses four times a song, appearing as though they are trying to force it into your head. That ultimately takes away from the experience as well.
“Past Scar” is a piano-led ballad that further slows things down, but it is a pretty song so I can’t really fault it. The piano part itself is the best part of the song, but the melody over it has escaped me. “The Perfect Form of Violence is next and is actually another highlight after the first track. It sounds like Pavement mixed with Hysterics (I’m basing that on the harmonies and general feel. Hysterics themselves sound like the Beatles, so judge for yourself if you don’t know them.)
The last song is “Someone to Talk To,” and Julien really lets his inner Elliot Smith fly on it. With the double tracked vocals that earlier only hinted at an indebtedness, Smith is all this track brings to mind. Like everything else, though, I can’t remember it now. Just saying Elliot Smith in my brain immediately puts ten songs and their superb melodies running through my head. These songs just don’t have the same effect.
All in all, I’d recommend putting this on in the background to your next picnic, but certainly not at any place where you’d want to remain awake for more than ten minutes. I really don’t mean to criticize the band too harshly, for the musicianship and structure of their music is excellent. It’s just not memorable enough too warrant the praise of something lasting.