Thursday Thive: The Riffs of Silverchair

Posted on June 6, 2013


Before they descended into some sort of strange cabaret band of nothingness, Silverchair bashed out a mighty few wonderful riffy tunes. Whilst I’m unsure as to whether this will be purely about the riffs or the songs that are built around them, its irrelevant, so this weeks Thive is the riffy world of Silverchair.

5: ‘Freak’ (Freak Show)
This first time Bonsall played drums at a practice for Namtrac/Ether, this was the first song we played. It was probably the first song I learnt to play on the guitar that I really loved playing. Sure, it is your basic two note Helmet riff that most teenagers will almost write at some point in their life, but after first album ‘Frogstomp’ this was a pretty big step up in terms of balls. It’ll always be fun.

4: ‘The Greatest View’ (Diorama)
Whilst certainly not a riff heavy song, this wonderful tune from much underrated (in probably my sole view) ‘Diorama’ starts with one of Daniel Johns’ finest guitar moments. Yeah, the chorus is lovely, the second verse has a funny little vocal inflection that me and Ffion used to love to hear, but this song is all about that riff. It’s a mighty one.

3: ‘Slave’ (Freak Show)
Oh, where to start. This riff that kicks off the cavalcade (as in post-drum kick in) is quite probably the best riff that Helmet never wrote. Thats just the start, and from beginning to end this song is just the proverbial dartboard of riffs, jumping from one to another with no reason to stop or slow down or try something different. Whilst art for arts sake is often another way of saying something is total cack, riff for riffs sake is another way of saying ‘please give me some more of that’.

2: ‘Spawn Again’ (Neon Ballroom)
I’ll be honest, I think veganism on the whole is pretty dumb. I don’t know why, and its mostly just the misinformed primal view of the bloodthirsty carnivore, but I still say veganism has come about because vegetarians were just trying to out do each other. Still, if veganism can produce a song like this, then maybe  I should give it another go. Most protest songs will have some sort of crowd friendly call to arms, will be wrapped up in a palatable coat in order to be bellowed out loud at marches. Not this. This is viscious, this is angry, it is joyous in its bile. The last 30 seconds in particular will never fail to make me grin. Well done vegans.

1: ‘One Way Mule’ (Diorama)
This is most definitely my favourite Silverchair song, and it also begins with my favourite Silverchair riff. It is huge, a gigantic lumbering beast, as all the best riffs are. It’s also another moment where you realise that ‘Diorama’, despite the duff songs, was actually pretty good. The chorus is sweeping in the lumbering fashion, the riff is relentless, the middle eight has an almost industrial feel to it. The whole thing is these Australian chaps at their very best. In fitting fashion, I accidentally wrote beast instead of best there. Fitting.

Posted in: Music, Thursday Thive