Silverada, Self-Titled – Album Review

Eric Cain

When Mike and the Moonpies officially became Silverada in March of 2024, there was a lot of speculation that with a name change would come an overhaul of the barroom ballads the group had spent almost two decades cutting their teeth on thus far. ”Wallflower,” the first single under this new moniker, boasted what initially felt like the group amplifying the edginess of a catalog that maybe now felt like an old pair of jeans. 

Fast forward to June and the release of the band’s new self-titled LP; the premature woes from our first exposure to this new name have become more self-referential than we first realized. Whether or not you, me, or the powers-that-be give Silverada the time of day is of little concern to Mike Harmeier and the rest of these former confections. They will be around, buzzing on the wall, as long as those lights stay on. 

Thankfully for us and them, they don’t seem to be flickering yet.

There are changes in how Hameier and his crew conduct business this go-around. Like any of their previous releases, they’re sure to hit yet remain unhindered by the tropes and trends that Texas country and their more garage-fused influences raise on them. However, the musical variance between tracks is much more noticeable as the group stumbles through their search for a new sound. It’s rickety sometimes, and cohesion is sometimes lost in the weeds, but it rarely feels like anyone on this record is over their head. 

Tracks like “Stay By My Side” exude the solemnity of the Highwaymen; meanwhile, “Radio Wave” is on the other side of the Silverada spectrum in its licks and chorus melodies that mimic a middle-of-the-road, radio-friendly Kings of Leon. 

Scatterbrained? Maybe. Sure of itself? Undoubtedly. 

Confidence in an unwavering sense of identity regardless of the name on a bill is one of the biggest muscles Silverada has to flex despite a few tumbles taken.

Lead guitarist Catlin Rutherford finds solid footing throughout this record, with tones that seem to snarl as a means of defending its territory. 

Zachary Moulton and his beloved steel guitar seem to serenade the project’s more benign moments, while bassist Omar Oyoque and drummer Taylor Englert effortlessly focus the sights on their sharpshooting compadres. 

Project #9, for any group, will show a collective more settled in its skin, especially for one atop the live circuit for as long as Silverada. Confidence, both in poise and in posture, is as intoxicating here as ever. 

Another tool sharpened here is Mike Harmeier’s and his pen, who often feels like he’s just thought up his next witty one-liner far before the ink has dried on the last one. The Silverada frontman has always had a knack for prose that makes ears perk, something this cowboy should pride himself on as lyrical commodities in 2024 often feel trite or overdone. There’s nothing pretentious or self-righteous about the way Harmeier writes. Punches are packed, but there’s always ample breathing room to let you get back on your feet before the next one is thrown. Especially here, you’re going to need the rest.

As modest a crew as Silverada is, there’s a lot on this newest record that points to the notion that they feel they deserve a better hand than the cards they were dealt. When the neo-country scene felt like it was off the races in the early 2010s, what was then Mike and the Moonpies seemed to think that they missed the starting gun. 

Some of those worries and annoyances are heard on tracks like “Load Out,” where Harmeier croons about burnout and the vicious cycle that can become of authenticity. Specifically when it’s not appreciated the way critics and industry suits claim it is. 

Maybe that line of thinking can be attributed to this new moniker and trajectory, or country music only recognizes the “real” when they’re a household name. Whatever the case, Silverada seems to know what they have, even if the rest of the landscape sometimes seems oblivious to it. Assurance, experience, and a sheer force of will are rare ideals that these unconventional cowboys are all in firm possession of.

With fifteen years, nine records, and two names now under their belts, it has become increasingly apparent how hellbent Silverada is becoming. They do not focus on finding shortcuts to success but on staying the course and weathering those storms; the only way they know how is through persistence, not only in their approach but also in how they see themselves and the world around them. 

Po-dunk poets may fade with time, but the ideas they cement have a far longer shelf-life than most records atop the charts at a given moment. Where former juggernauts of the genre once stood now stands Silverada: alive as ever and bubbling over with an eagerness to present their takes on eternal adages to country music fans, old and new. Regardless of what name you call them by, they’re not going anywhere. 


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