Sound — 7
2010 was the Year Of The Tiger and the Year Of The Tweet according to Chinese citizens and Internet junkies respectively, but it was also a year injected with unexpected extended plays. There were those who shell-shocked their fans (The Devil Wears Prada, Circa Survive) and others who used the makeup of an EP to say farewell to a promising career (Lydia). Then there's Transitions, a five track release from Canadian rockers Silverstein that offers a projection of where the band is headed with their fifth full-length. Connected with a new label in Hopeless Records, the EP promotes a classic punk/emo vibe without the eye shadow and dark undertones. "Darling Harbour", soaked in a early 2000's stench, is a single you'd expect from the group's previous label with driving guitars and a chorus that uses a likable quality to overpower it's simplicity. "Dancing On My Grave" does a complete 360 spin from the beginning of Transitions with singer Shane Told breaking out with a string of unclean vocals, matching the amateur melodies spot-shined by a small town studio. Considering 2011 is supposed to be a giant leap for the group, one would expect the sound, whether it be acoustic ballads or Nine Inch Nails covers, to sound professional. Yet it's not; the material is naked, exposed and full of personality, something most albums lack when trying to maintain momentum for more than 40 minutes.
Lyrics — 8
You have five attempts, do your best. Told's responsibility as a vocalist isn't different from the tasks his bandmates deal with but given a short amount of time, it can be overwhelming. Transitions is meant to tap fans on the shoulder and say "this is who we are, take it or leave it," and instead of screaming such a statement at a high volume, the face behind the microphone serves up the EP in different courses. "Sacrifice" provides solid ground for an opener, twisting a hook around crisp guitar riffs and though it doesn't appeal to the appetite of a listener for two and a half minutes, it's outdone as "Darling Harbour" and "Replace You" kick up the honesty meter a notch, drawing comparisons to acts like pre-2005 Amber Pacific and Acceptance. There are bands that try to capture such lyrical work with whatever voice they have, but they can't because it's a dying trait, one Silverstein harnessed for few a minutes.
Overall Impression — 7
Unlike other extended plays, Transitions doesn't catapult jaw-dropping melodies at your ears. It does however, stay true to the band's (and genre's) roots, almost to a point where it seems as if Silverstein never changed labels. Is that a positive for Hopeless? Without a doubt; their roster delivers a pop jump kick but it's diverse and the Canadian quintet have the ability to spearhead the organization. If Transitions is a foreshadowing of a fifth release with a vintage heart willing to embrace punk melodies, then there's no need to argue: Silverstein have found a home. Now they're more relaxed, open and daring enough to help start a revolt with others to force 2011 to be the Year Punk Finally Ditched The Colourful Scene Image.