SILVER CAVES @ The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow – 13th October 2011
Barn Owl, as they were previously named, had built a reputation round these parts for their chilled, shoegaze-style music and an equally relaxed attitude to writing, recording and playing ‘live.’ Not for them all the fuss and palaver that engulfs many bands who are similarly invited to play festivals like Rock Ness and T In The Park; not for them the need to hire a management team to steer them onwards and upwards.
No, no, no. Instead, what do they do? They go and change their name, that’s what. To SILVER CAVES. They also reduce in number from five to four, having lost glockenspiel player Jay.
But more dramatically, they have upped their game – and upped the tempo of their songs. And for no other reason than they just simply felt like it, having played in the earlier style for a couple of years.
It certainly works, and with the change in mood comes an added assuredness. Vocalist Greig still sings in a hushed tone, but there is now a certain confidence and assertiveness that was perhaps missing in the band’s previous incarnation. You could hardly describe the West of Scotland accent as being ‘soft’ but he manages to make it thus, with an almost quaint glottal delivery.
On guitar, Dan Bryant takes the lead – nothing overly extravagant but hugely effective, while on drums Joe Smillie continues to impress as one of the best on the Glasgow circuit. And with regular bassist Jamie Scott touring his other band (Conquering Animal Sound) Craig gives a stoical performance (isn’t that what bass players were born to do?) that belies his ‘stand-in’ status.
Never ones to take themselves too seriously, there now seems more of a freedom for the band to enjoy themselves on stage. Throughout the set there is a good deal of interaction between the members, which transmits to those watching and who certainly mirror the lads’ evident enjoyment of the half hour set.
Having already received airplay on Tom Robinson’s Radio 6 Music’s show, it now really just falls to SILVER CAVES to follow up on their potential. They are threatening to formally record for an ‘official’ release shortly. But whilst the verve and tempo of their music may have become more dynamic, I’m not gonna hold my breath! (Some habits are hard to break!)
So, until such time as pigs sprout wings, here’s a re-vamped version of one of their Barn Owl tracks: