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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - The Silencers - "Painted Moon"

By March 4, 2014

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My first thought when I encountered the music of The Silencers recently is that this is exactly the kind of jittery, jangly, guitar-centered music I should have been listening to back in 1987, but damned if my ears weren't too often otherwise engaged at the time. Of course, that was basically at the same moment I was discovering classic rock music - back when that term did not yet entirely refer to a dusty dinosaur dominated by stagnant, predictable playlists. Of course, it would have been nice to hear this particular Scottish band on my local classic rock radio station of choice a quarter century ago - and, truthfully, I can't entirely rule out the possibility that this unsung band might have been spun on occasion there. Nevertheless, I have to admit I don't remember hearing the band (or this song) then, or even in the years immediately following, when similarly styled bands like U2 and The Alarm became highly familiar to my cassette players.

Even so, such a confession does not stop me in the least from celebrating the excellent track "Painted Moon" right this very moment. Unlike '80s-era U2, The Silencers demonstrate more of a concerted devotion to injecting a strong groove into their music than an insistence on political posturing and abject seriousness. Therefore, the simple but commanding rhythm of this track - combined with the alluring, breathy vocals of frontman Jimmie O'Neill - casts an intoxicating spell over the listener that is not reliant on excessive didacticism or preachiness. As such, a song like this featuring a compelling central guitar riff plants itself into the listening consciousness as an easygoing, friendly and utterly respectable earworm. The Silencers never need to beat their listeners over the head with meaning or context. Instead, the band unleashes a relentless, haunting mid-tempo attack that dances on through, never overstaying its welcome. Unfortunately, that casual brilliance may be part of the reason we don't hear about this band all the time (or ever, for that matter). But that makes for a lovely find any day of the week, that much is certain.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of RCA

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