Flash of Silver is the type of side project that every musician needs. It demonstrates several aspects of each band member’s significant potential. Together the trio of Vic Cherubim, Collin Cherubim and Alex Holloway brings forth the strength and solidarity created through years of playing together in their main project, local Pittsburgh psychedelic rock outfit Memphis Hill. Drag a Match Over Me establishes Flash of Silver as the raw, emotional “coming out” from their half of Memphis Hill.
The band excels at creating music uniquely stylized to highlight Vic Cherubim’s guitar playing. The album starts with a heavy-driving groove and an aggressive attitude. In “Act 2”, bassist Holloway compliments Vic from line to line, weaving through and around the guitar part to let Vic’s chords breathe. Vic has a distinct speak-sing style to his vocals, which is felt most strongly when drummer Colin Cherubim suddenly cuts out. These clever, well-timed breaks throughout the song provide a tense and necessary silence, broken once by a dulled moan and again by a pained screech.
The EP is cleverly dynamic within each of the four songs. As a vocalist, Vic tells his story in swift lines, spoken calmly but with an envy of his lovelorn past. He often contrasts his vocals with overdriven guitar leads reminiscent of ‘90s grunge. In “That Time,” the verse riff is aesthetically equivalent to Smashing Pumpkins. Drummer Collin Cherubim’s tom-heavy starting pace is eventually shifted to a half-time feel, sprinkled with the super dirty, hard-hitting lead lines. Mix in some tasteful shouts and Alex’s locked-in bass, and the resulting sounds are in your face for the rest of the tune.
Some special attention needs to be paid to Vic’s guitar solos in “Mountain” and “Queen of the Record Machine.” These require a series of double-takes to fully absorb. His guitar solos are wholly nasty – in a good way. That prowess is ever-present in his previous recordings with Memphis Hill. In these tracks, it’s like he’s having a conversation with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page while being simultaneously possessed by the ghost of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. Vic’s solos are crunchy and overall raw. The listener is taken aback.
Drag a Match Over Me throws grime at the listener while keeping the flow rhythmically diverse. It takes a special type of band to play with so much dissonance and still be interesting. Flash of Silver joins the Pittsburgh scene with finesse and a tone-shifted departure from their psychedelic rock predecessor.
Listen to tracks from Flash of Silver's first EP, Drag a Match Over Me, below. Check out the album release party at Howler's on Friday, May 13 with Big Gypsy and Manic Soul.