I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of The Silos before pulling this record (their self-titled major label debut, often referred to as “The One with the Bird on the Cover”) off the shelves. I was seduced by the creepy bird on the cover and the awesome dudes on the back (who, I’m guessing, are Walter Salas-Humara and Bob Rupe, the main members of the band at the time). Bob Rupe left the band not long after this album was released and currently works as a producer/engineer in Virginia, but Walter Salas-Humara has kept the band going for about 25 years now under various lineups. In fact, it looks like they just played SXSW this year!
This was the band’s first release for RCA after a couple of albums on the label Record Collect (which I can’t find any info about - you try doing an internet search for “record collect records” and let me know how it goes for you). As with so many bands, their first effort on a major left some disappointed. Or maybe it was just the lack of violin?
“Hmmm. Well, the big label switch definitely affected them. I’m a big fan of previous stuff, and everything here is way less driving + adventuresome. Gone is Walter’s occasional pointed growls, the frequent violin, + the lovely male-female harmonies. Instead we get cheesy, generic organs, and more conventional songs. For 3 listens I totally hated this. Eventually some songs caught on - whether because of or despite my past affection for the Silos. Still, nothing here is as good as anything on Cuba. In summary, there are still some good cuts (1-2, 1-3, 1-6, 2-3), but definitely a let down. Oh, I just noticed a big lineup change. 3 new people + two gone, including the wonderful violin player.”
“2-5 I liked, but I’m disappointed in most of the rest - it’s not all bad, but some is really bad, like a John Cougar or something. If you hunt around you can find the few decent cuts. I miss the violin.”