There is a beauty in simplicity. An elegance in thought and form pervades Silent Skies’ Dormant (Napalm Records). Where life is bombastic and loud and aggressive, Tom S Englund and Vikram Shankar provide respite. Harkening back to the singer-songwriter genre of the seventies, Englund and Shankar create a landscape of the sublime. Dormant is a beautiful flight through light and love.
Englund’s voice has a deep, rich quality that is robust. Not that his vocal range is “deep”, but that the feelings his tone evoke is deep and earthy. Coupled with the lyrics of the songs, Dormant is a heady, wondrous album. Not surprisingly, the album cover features a face made of trees and leaves and roots. The overall feeling of Dormant is like a forest. There are spots that are grounded and others that conjure a feeling of reaching for the sky. For example, “Churches” evokes walking through a South Jersey forest where the reds, yellows, and oranges of the leaves float and flutter above your head. There is a light breeze and the air is aromatic. “Just Above the Clouds” sees us flying through the spruce trees of Alaska. It’s near winter and the air is crisp and the sky is the colour blue.
When the songs feature just vocals and piano, the heart chokes the throat. It is a moving and spiritual experience. It’s like Englund and Shankar tapped into the universal vibration that connects everyone and everything. Can we get Mia Michaels to choreograph something to “Reset”? I get goosebumps just thinking what she could do with this song. (I actually went online and pulled up one of her choreographies to play whilst listening to “Reset”. It was tear-jerking.)
The last three songs on the album are covers. First, they cover “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden. It’s a haunting re-imagining of the classic. It’s just vocals and piano. It’s amazing. I love the song and Maiden anyway, but this… just this! The second is “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen. Where Springsteen’s version is jaunty, this is gut-wrenching and sad. The entire feeling of both these songs is radically changed… for the better. They take on a pathos. The listener feels it deep in their gut. The third and final cover is Linkin Park’s “Numb”, and this cover is beautiful as well.
Dormant is elegant and transcendent. The songs flow around the listener and takes them to a different plane of existence.
Buy the album here: https://silentskiessweden.bandcamp.com/album/dormant
9 / 10