Silkworm - Lifestyle (2000)

As a testament to Silkworm, a decade-plus existence has not resulted in a truncated amount of inspiration and vitality. Though the casual listener might not hear a great deal of difference from their previous three studio records, they're actually skipping merrily on that ever-treacherous tightrope concept: "Stay the same but change." That line they are prancing on can't be walked upon by many others. On their eighth album (by their count), they've made something that's just as good as anything else they've released. And so, yet another record can divide the opinions of Silkworm fans as to what their finest hour is. Thorough attention reveals increased writing proficieny and refinement, but the general makeup from recent efforts remains the same. Guest pianist/organist Brett Grossman reprises his standout role on Blueblood through the likes of "Contempt," and "Yrweb," serving the same important role that Nicky Hopkins provided on some of the Rolling Stones' best. Drummer Michael Dahlquist, who turned in a lead vocal turn on Blueblood, cashes in with one of the highlights, "Around the Outline." Andy Cohen again does fine double duty on rhythm and lead guitar. His get-it-over-with soloing does nothing to damage the craft. Tim Midgett's rumbling but agile bass again anchors the band's sound with Dahlquist's smacking kick drum leading the way. Lyrically, Cohen and Midgett's writing stacks up nicely with any of their best material. The themes largely remain the same; Cohen's has his wry anecdotal musings and Midgett has his personal phrasings of devotion and nostalgia. In a word, Silkworm are durable. Continually churning out the classicist-without-being-retro goods, they hold an accomplished spot between the likes of CCR and the Minutemen. Not as famous as the former, and not as wild as the latter, but as fresh and timeless as both.

-Andy Kellman, All Music

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