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Freak Show
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Performer Notes
  • Silverchair: Daniel Johns (vocals, guitar); Chris Joannou (bass); Ben Gillies (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Ruk Mali (sitar); Amanda Brown, Ian Cooper, Lorenza Ponce, Elizabeth Knowles, Todd Reynolds, David Mansfield, Ravi Kultilak (violin); Matthew Pierce, Rudi Crivici (viola); Jane Scarpantoni, Margaret Lindsay (cello); Pandit Ran Chander Suman (tampura, tabla).
  • Recorded at Festival Studio, Sydney, Australia.
  • The three members of Silverchair are still in their teens, but the band's second album displays a real maturity to go with its musical variety; FREAK SHOW expands the typical grunge palette to include timpani, sitar and a string section (which features Jane Scarpantoni, cellist to the alt-rock stars). The themes continue to be dark and heavy. Along with the earnest and agonizing confessionals, this time there are also angry responses to criticism of Silverchair's first album, 1995's FROGSTOMP, which was slightly more popular with the public than it was with the critics.
  • Undaunted, Silverchair forges on and grows up. Standouts on FREAK SHOW include the unsubtle "No Association," which pleads, "Leave me alone I want to live/Stop sucking the blood right out of me," while guitars carve a deep grungy groove, and "Abuse Me," which sets furious lyrics against a deceptively melodious background. Such impassioned songwriting is tinged with hints of sincere disillusion; the drama rarely boils over into melodrama. There is also a sense of spontaneity that sets Silverchair apart from other grunge and hardcore-influenced bands, and hints at even better things to come.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (2/20/97, p.66) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...the hardcore guitar assault of Helmet and the heavy-duty groove of its parents' Black Sabbath albums....Johns' bittersweet, crackly voice tops the ample power chordage, sounding eerily close to Kurt Cobain..."

Spin (2/97, pp.84-85) - 6 (out of 10) - "...an improvement on FROGSTOMP, varied with punkier speedups, fancier breaks, and more dramatic climbing from quietude interlude to dude attitude..."

Musician (3/97, p.90) - "...The guitar tone is right here, the arrangements not too obviously Nirvana-influenced, the riffs range from solid enough for hard rock respectability to genuinely catchy....Reports of the death of grunge are greatly exaggerated."
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