Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 21, 2001
Laser Beam Next Door (Checkered Past)If ever there was a band that was impossible to pin down, it's the Silos. The only member who's been in the band since the beginning of their long and storied career has been former Austinite singer/guitarist/songwriter Walter Salas-Humara. The group of players that have shifted in and out of the band has resulted in music that's primarily been roots-based, but with textures that have varied over the years. Salas-Humara has stripped the band down to guitar, bass, and drums, which can now be lovingly described as a garage rock power trio. Their latest epic, Laser Beam Next Door, retains the raw lyrical beauty of the Silos past work, yet it seems fresh and new. Salas-Humara has always been fascinated with rhythm, and this version of the band allows him to set the drums and percussion up in the mix so that each song is driven by the beat. On first listen, Laser Beam's spare sound may appear simple, yet it's much more complex than that. From the fuzzed out guitars of opener "Satisfied" and the Latino rock-flavored "Sangre Y Lagrimas" to sly and slinky anthem "One World" and slightly silly funk work out "Wooky Doo," the Silos cover a lot of musical ground and mold it all into a highly listenable whole. This is a testament to Salas-Humara's ability to write catchy melodies and hooky guitar riffs to match. Like past Silos efforts, Laser Beam Next Door is filled with moments where pretty meets ugly, tension leads to release, flashes of inspired glee follow feelings of intense melancholy, and from a band that constantly keeps you guessing, it's good to know some thing's never change.