They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Similarly, you shouldn’t judge a band by its name. This holds very true for Hi Ho Silver, Away!. Despite the silly, almost piratical name, the California-based trio is anything but the soundtrack to your next sailing trip with grandpa. The band’s debut full length, Chore, is 26 minutes of punk filled with plenty of memorable one liners and “whoas”. (Okay, I was hasty to judge you. Maybe you and grandpa enjoy listening to punk on his yacht and in that case, Chore would be a fine soundtrack for the two of you.)
Chore is a very stripped down punk record. It’s fairly common these days for bands to record several guitar tracks regardless of how many guitarists are in the band, or maybe layer a keyboard track in the background of a chorus, and while that can sound incredibly nice sometimes, Hi Ho Silver, Away! doesn’t bullshit anyone: there are three people on this recording, so you hear three instruments in the songs.
The real standout of the album as a whole is Hi Ho Silver, Away!’s songwriting and the way the vocals play off the instrumentals. They aren’t always written to the same melodies, and sometimes the vocals come off almost as spoken rather than sung, but it always works well together. “Empty Gestures” is probably the best example (and maybe the best song on the album, but that’s subjective) of this writing style.
Hi Ho Silver, Away! have a raw, DIY sound that feels rare in this day and age of professional home recording technology. Even ten years ago it was a regular complaint that punk bands “sounded too good”, so it’s refreshing to know that there are still bands who remember how to record an album with minimal overdubs or additional instruments that can’t be performed live. Their name might conjure up images of the seven dwarves, but Hi Ho Silver, Away! have tapped into something brilliant that overshadows their name: honest, simple punk rock. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
4 / 5 – Stream it below!