LIVE: Silvertwin @ Paper Dress Vintage

In an excitable and long-overdue return to live music, the retro soft rock revivalists bring 70s sonics and carefully studied three-part harmonies to the Hackney venue.
Posted: 21 May 2021 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

Thank heavens. Thank fuck. Live music is back. And retro soft rock revivalists Silvertwin took it way back to the 70s with an impressively slick performance at Hackney’s Paper Dress Vintage that felt as though you’d stepped into a time capsule, of sorts. 

There’s no need to reiterate, but gigs have been desperately missed. The nerves, butterflies, and sheer excitement was tangible from all quarters prior to the show - despite the uniform seating arrangement, the atmosphere was anything but sterile. Especially as soon as the five-piece stepped onto the stage, for the first time in what must’ve been months. 

Led by frontman and bassist Issac Shalam, Silvertwin burst into life with their wide-eyed blend of 70-inspired soft rock, all saccharine vocals and stuttered synth pianos that’d have Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson blushing. Not entirely pastiche or quite as close to the knuckle in replicating their influences as say, Greta Van Fleet, Silvertwin clearly have an affinity with the likes of Electric Light Orchestra, Paul McCartney’s Wings, and the aforementioned Supertramp. A group of whippersnappers seemingly straight out of sixth form, it just comes across as though they’ve been digging lovingly through their mum’s and dad’s record collection, developing a keen ear for soft rock and 70s sonics, carefully studying their three-part harmonies.

It’s the three-part harmonies that act as the band’s aesthetic lynchpin - stood side-by-side, Shalam’s assured calmness is a stark contrast to guitarists Alicia Barisani and Dan Edery who gleefully bound around either side of him, with Edery channeling the combustible, agitated energy of Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson and pulling moves like Mick Johnson when he was Bowie’s go-to-guy. 

It wasn’t all just joyful bops and gleaming smiles, however. Shalam has a real knack for penning an infectious pop rock song: Macca would no doubt agree if he heard ‘You Only’ any time soon, and the beautifully crafted ‘Ploy’ could slip into Jeff Lynne’s repertoire, seamlessly. The band have found admirers in Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, producer extraordinaire, who shares a common interest in retro revitalism and has keenly followed the band since their beginnings, even producing their impending self-titled debut album that’s due to drop in July. 

Given they’ve only released a handful of songs to date, their set was relatively succinct. Not that it bothered the noticeably eager crowd who were foot-tapping galore, and hollering at the band from all-but two metres away. Live music is back, socially distanced for now, but I doubt that’d stop Silvertwin grinning from cheek to cheek after their delirious reintroduction to gigging. I’m still grinning now. 

To hear more from Silvertwin, click here.

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