Work is the first release for 13 years by Denmark's best kept secret: digital power rock trio Silo. Back in the 1990s the group – Frederik Ammitzbøll (guitars), Mikkel Bender (bass) and Søren Dahlgaard (drums) – were the most abrasive act signed up by Swim Records, the independent label founded by Wire frontman Colin Newman and his wife Malka Spigel. After releasing two albums – Instar (1998) and Alloy (2001) – and appearing live with the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Rós, Trans Am and Pole, the group, who came together as students, drifted off into family life and gainful employment. Frederik works in IT and co-runs avantgarde menswear label Uncommon Creatures, Søren is a full time artist and Mikkel works with patents. But now Silo have reloaded, and in 2014 their distinctive twisted-metal sound, built on crunchy digitized guitars, beats that crack like a boltcutter and a sturdy industrial rhythm matrix, sounds bang on trend.
Work is the long hours and collective effort required to make music and keep a band together in the first place; it's what prevents musicians from coming back to it, too. Work is a summing-up of tracks they have been intermittently recording and reworking over the past decade. Jagged edges, distorted sound-clouds and swarming guitars are the trademarks, but the Teutonic-edged grooves make the whole thing fly. 'Making rock music that actually rocks even though the beat is way off the grid has been one of the major experiments and ambitions of this album,' says Frederik. Hard labour goes into designing the guitar parts, which are digitally sculpted and processed.
With its swooning chord changes and superfuzzed guitar textures, Silo's immersive sound envelope recalls groups like My Bloody Valentine and Band Of Susans, while packing the punch of acts like Helmet or Dälek. Thanks to their admiration for leftfield hiphop producers such as J Dilla and Sa-Ra Creative Partners, their beats are cranky and offcentre, and on 'Cabinn Fever' (named after the Danish hotel chain where the track was recorded) Silo recruit High Priest and M. Sayyid of Antipop Consortium for a channel-hopping rap taking in everything from Eric Clapton to 747s. Other guests include R&B/pop vocalist Maria Hamer-Jensen (on 'Power Points') and Mew's Jonas Bjerre (the crooner on 'O').
And who can resist a title like 'The Inexorable Sadness of Pencils'? The album's yearning closing instrumental is inspired by a poem by American author Theodore Roethke. It describes the sadness of offices and public spaces where dust and boredom have accumulated – echoing the album sleeve photo of a room piled with unread newspapers. Plug in to Silo and blow the dust out of the corners of your life.