For Fans Of
Silverchair, a band that imitated Nirvana harder than Kevin Spacey imitates fellow actors, have recently had a re-issue of their debut album, ‘Frogstomp’ for it’s 20th anniversary. So as a remastered version of the iconic band’s debut album, how does it stand in shadow of the always critical and glaring microscope that is retrospect?
Well, 20 years later and it’s still a solid record. As it’s a remastering, and not a re-recording, the performances of these songs from the band that once was remain fully in tact. It must be noted that if you didn’t like the record the first time round, then this probably won’t change your mind. If you were a fan, then this is a great collectible and a great trip down memory lane. However, if you never heard it then maybe now is the time to check out why the band became such a household name in the first place. For the actual remastering, it’s actually not all that dramatic, nor is it bad by any means. Everything’s just been slightly touched up so the instruments are all the more clearer in the mix, and the record still sounds as solid as it ever did, just with a subtly polished sounding product. Arguably the best aspect of the remaster is that it really amplifies the band’s growing potential (and the level of Johns’ guitars) at the time.
Included in this bang for your buck re-release is the original ARIA #1 cracking album that helped jump start Silverchair’s successful career. Then there’s the live audio from a 1995 show at Newcastle venue, The Cambridge, a live DVD with footage from that same gig, as well as the music videos for the album’s singles. On top of that is a full remastering of the band’s four track ‘Tomorrow’ EP, which is easily more noticeable than the actual album’s remastering. That EP was actually the trio’s first official release and it’s basically Silverchair through and through. So collectors and fans are sure to love that little addition of the band’s history.
When you consider that the group was only 15 years of age when this was released, it suddenly hits you how much talent they had. Yeah, that’s right – 15. What were you doing when you were 15? Probably not writing a breakthrough debut album, that’s for sure. Man, fif-fucking-teen years old they were when they wrote pumping songs like ‘Israel’s Son‘, catchy, radio-friendly anthems like ‘Tomorrow‘, hectic, thrashy numbers such as ‘Madman‘, and the short fan favourite of album closer ‘Findaway‘. Those songs really are the testament of this band, their skill and potential at such a young age, and this a time when they were barely old enough to play within the walls of the venues that punters crowded into to them perform in. Maybe that’s why fans across the country were so disgruntled when all they heard in the later days was songs like this, with the occasional dip into the back catalogues, and why they want Johns’ to stop being a tosser and get the band back together. Or to even have the album that they recorded prior to splitting finally see the light of fucking day. Or even, dare it be uttered, an actual proper reunion of the trio.
Ah…now, that’s a good one.
This album should be accompanied by a massive, shinning neon sign that says in big bold letters, “ONE FOR THE SILVERCHAIR FANS!” To some, perhaps, this really is a seminal album of the 90’s rock landscape, and to others it was just the beginning of what was a great career. However, with the changing of times, ‘Frogstomp’ feels a bit unremarkable now as only the singles seem to stand out the most from the track listing. But maybe that’s because they got such a flogging on televisions and radio stations at the time and years afterwards, but thankfully with this re-issue there’s a lot more to sink your teeth into. If we are ever going to see the supposed album that Silverchair recorded before they went on an “indefinite hibernation”, then this could happily fill in the gap in the meantime for some.
1. Israel’s Son
4. Pure Massacre
6. Leave Me Out
7. Suicidal Dream
2. Acid Rain
5. Madman (vocal version)
6. Madman (Live)
7. Blind (Live)
8. Tomorrow- (Live)
9. Faultline (Live)
10. Pure Massacre (Live)
1. Madman (live)
2. Blind (live)
3. Tomorrow (live)
4. Faultline (live)
5. Pure Massacre (live)
6. Israel’s Son (live on Recovery)
7. Tomorrow (Official music video)
8. Pure Massacre (official music video)
9. Israel’s Son (official music video)