From the outset, Cut and Run, the debut album from Brooklyn-based band The Silver State, is a down-on-your-luck, slow burning rock record. The album's first track, "Did What I Did," opens with the lyrics "When I'm Gone, You Can Burn My Body," set to heavy piano chords and bass drum thumps. It's a styled arrangement that immediately calls to mind the dark lamentations of Bonnie "Prince" Billy. But while most of the record follows in a similar sparse, mournful vein, it is in the album's digressions that the band truly shines.
The jangly guitars, hand claps, and tambourines on "Faith You Changed Your Name" make it the album's jumpiest track — one only fully appreciated at top-down, wind-blowing, full volume. The song takes the album well beyond its insular, headphones listening space, into more upbeat rock, eventually peaking with a feedback-infused guitar solo. The stark contrast is part of what makes the track so alluring, placed perfectly between "Cross Country," a quiet piano ballad, and "Gotta Cut," which features a slow-picked electric guitar and vocals that echo Stephen Malkmus.
Similarly, the album finds its conclusion with "December 20th," with surprisingly uplifting vocal harmonies that offer the sense of an epic catharsis and release. But the sound isn't overbearing or consuming. "December 20th" makes sense as a climax, of sorts, in the context of the whole album, offering simple closure to the record's woeful dirges in the form of a slow and smooth fade out.
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