Silos and Smokestacks is a classic emo album from the newly rejoined Names Without Numbers. The Omaha-based pop-punkers have resurfaced with a solid release that represents their genre in its truest sense; it’s not a groundbreaking release, but, in some cases, you’re just looking for a new flavor of ice cream. Because of that – and, unfortunately, this feels like the easy way out – what you glean from the album is purely based on your preference. If you’re looking for a never-before-heard style or perspective, Silos and Smokestacks will be a disappointment. If you’re looking for a misunderstood, awkward, hopeful work that can’t wait to grow up, then bingo, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s an entirely predictable album, but, in all fairness, it works for its nostalgic feel and substantial lyricism.
Breaking down Silos and Smokestacks, let’s take a journey through some of the tropes each track represents in the pop-punk genre. They have a very definite place in the story of the record – all well done and honest but assuredly repurposed for a new generation.
- “Firing Squad”
The tale of what completes a life that is missing something. In the bridge, it takes your hand and pulls you up, like a good friend or a brother. The soul of emo is that you’re not alone, and this song is anthemic to that message.
- “Dragonfly and the Owl”
The high dive into romance, the ballad, and the sonnet. It’s “Hey There Delilah” or “Chasing Cars.” It’s cute, but not a standout unless you are looking for a track to remind you of what young love feels like. It’s an easy listen.
- “Middle Ground”
The break-up/make-up song filled with the innocence of believing everything can be fixed by meeting in the middle. The song you listen to as you speed over to your significant other’s house while playing out the next step in your head.
- “The Apathy Anthem”
The “Let’s have fun and not care about anything else” aka “We don’t give a shit but don’t look too hard because not so deep down we really really do” song.
- “For Today”
The empathetic encourager. Everything about this song embodies the genre NWN has been a part of. Relating to self-doubt and the struggle with confidence, the band uses a memorable melody to reach out and encourage the ability to overcome that which they fear. The past may have sucked and tomorrow feels like quite a ways off, but today you’re good enough. Embrace that.
The kiss and tell. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a cover of Lady Swift herself and that it’s a really great soft-punk twist on the original.
It’s an entirely predictable album, but, in all fairness, it works for its nostalgic feel and substantial lyricism. The album embodies the mainstay of emo/punk/anti-music that defines the amazing culture that it is. It’s full of brazen emotion and honest experience, the base of the special brand of pop-punk that Names Without Numbers has fashioned as their own.