Man, here’s one for the books – Silverstein’s Arrivals & Departures. I used to love this record, like, really fucking love it. I walked home from school every day when I was thirteen and had this record on constant repeat, the album occupying the entire journey and occupying it well. I’m pretty sure that I adored Arrivals & Departures more than any other album I owned at the time. This thing went everywhere with me for a few months, back when I was binging on Victory Records bands like it was the only label in the world. Home to Comeback Kid, Taking Back Sunday and A Day To Remember, Victory had me covered in terms of punk/hardcore crossovers. I valued Taking Back Sunday over Silverstein, but when Silverstein made their way in they stuck around for longer than Arrivals & Departures should have ever merited.
Released: 2007 Label: Victory Records
Variant: 1st press /900 Purchased from: Banquet Records
Looking back now, I realize how little I knew about what really constituted a good record (not that I’m entirely sure what does now). At the time, I’m pretty sure I thought Silverstein were the best band in the world, and I wouldn’t have listened to anyone who told me otherwise. I see things a little clearer now. I’m not trying to say that Arrivals & Departures is a bad record, it isn’t, it’s just not a great one. That would have been hard to hear ten years ago, but I get it now. Full of cliched, watery, lyrics and let down by substandard production, Silverstein’s third record lacks punch, the raspy screamo aspects weaker than they once sounded. It’s a record which hasn’t aged particularly well, sounding a little hollow. It adopted pop sensibilities, and any bite the record may have had was subsequently diminished. It finds the band trying a few new things, and sometimes it comes off; most of the time it doesn’t. I’m not really a fan of frontman Shane Todd’s vocals on this record either, his harsher delivery lacking grit, while his clean vocals don’t tend to push too far. Elsewhere, the guitars are pretty washed out, and the drumming carries a lot of the songs here instrumentally. It feels like an unfinished product, missing some crucial spark that would have ensured it still holds up ten years after its release.
But, all that considered now, there was a reason I used to like this record. Maybe it was just because I didn’t know any better. I’ll still attest that single Still Dreaming is actually pretty good, and its one of only many examples where Arrivals & Departures is pretty damn catchy. I’m still more than willing to commend Vanity & Greed for that blockbuster chorus, just as I dig the guitar work and vocals on My Disaster. I think I look back on Arrivals & Departures with disappointment because I much prefer the records that came before and after it. 2005’s Discovering The Waterfront tends to be the Silverstein record that fans value most highly, while 2009’s A Shipwreck In The Sand is probably my personal favorite from the band. Arrivals & Departures doesn’t really compare, despite some decent tracks now elevating it my memory. I’m actually a little bummed to revisit it and find myself underwhelmed, but it does hold a firm place in my mind when I look back and, as such, it’s a worthy addition to my collection. It isn’t a record I spin often, but I rate it for its nostalgia, and perhaps also as a marker for my own youthful naivety.