Silvergun & Spleen
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Silvergun and Spleen
Biography

Sometimes you really just have to say screw it.

It's only when we throw caution to the wind that our lot in life starts to reveal itself. Such is the mindset that spawned Ottawa-based quartet Silvergun & Spleen.

Formed in 2006 by vocalist/guitarist Marie-Eve “Merv” Mallet, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Veronique “Vern” Mallet and drummer John “El Conquistador” Lenherr when the trio abandoned all previous scholastic and professional ambitions for the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Silvergun & Spleen's (S&S) instinctive, provocative and undulating yet refined and wily rock 'n' roll is truly inspired by following dreams.

“We never expected to be a band. It was our sole option,” beams Merv, passionately reflecting on the moment an epiphany in a sun-filled room gave her the courage to drop everything and pursue a life of rock...despite having never touched an instrument.

“We really did start from scratch. Nobody knew how to play and we were never around musicians growing up. It was something we always dreamt about and while you're generally taught to believe that your dreams never happen, we've put everything we have into this. It's the only thing that makes us happy.”

Compelled by a determination to create enigmatic, pelvic rock conjoined with inherent melody and tongue-in-cheek slyness, the band's latest nine-track album Semi Truck (Rage Records) displays a profound punch that belies their ephemeral six year existence.

In that short time though, S&S' matchless sound and style has garnered them such achievements as rotation on national radio, featured dates on festivals such as Vans Warped Tour and a host of development grants in hopes these fiery minstrels maintain their maniacal manner. Pulling from longtime staple influences including Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, the Tragically Hip and the Matthew Good Band yet smashing them up against more recent inspiration from the likes of the Foo Fighters and Metric, the band's melodically-tinged yet muscular sound is as if indie music took a solid fist to the face.

Still, Mallet asserts that in contrast to 2011's rock-fuelled EP Through My Skeleton, Semi Truck features a bolder step towards upbeat, electrified virulence thanks to stronger indie dance influence and a subtle shift away from darker hard rock. Captured by inimitable producer/mastering guru Jon Drew (Fucked Up, Tokyo Police Club, Alexisonfire) and featuring bassist Chris Page-Manson, Semi Truck's unhindered exploration and daring pairing of lush melodies with primal rhythms is equal parts stunning and fetching.

“This aural shift had to happen,” she notes. “Everyday, we experience things that change us and it's only natural that our music is affected by it. As we grow as artists, our perceptions change. Ultimately, the way we express ourselves changes too, so Semi Truck is happier music. We've finally found a way to celebrate the hard times. Good old rock 'n' roll and modern music are to blame. We'll never be rid of our classic rock influences but we've always had a thing for anything dance. It's time we brought the two together.”

Along with its musical augmentation, Semi Truck's lyrics find Silvergun & Spleen delving deeper into personal territory. From lead single “Crack” (co-written with legendary Canuck singer-songwriter Simon Wilcox) to “An Eye For An Eye,” “Too Late” and a re-imagining of “Kiss And Tell” from Through My Skeleton, the affair is thick with life lessons set to ass-kickin' rock.

Semi Truck's theme is something more people can connect with or relate to than some of our earlier material,” Mallet reveals. “It's influenced by a lot of the obstacles we've faced over the years like betrayal. Everyone's had the feeling where you work so hard for something—maybe all your life—and someone else stomps on it. You wonder, 'Gee, did I really just spend my life's blood to have this thing trampled?' But we're not the kind of band to give up. That's why the title comes from that feeling of how even though things are really screwed up sometimes and you feel like someone's out to get you, we're gonna smash right through them like that truck.”

With the dedication, perseverance and creative fortitude displayed on Semi Truck however, Silvergun & Spleen are far from a happenstance group of misfits meandering together. As this album affirms, they are honed, well-oiled and a fully-loaded musical transport barrelling down the blacktop.

“If you're sincerely putting all of your effort into something and looking at every possible way to do your best and what's needed to make it happen, it can't fail. I’ve seen a lot of bands say they’re doing that but lip-service and effort are two different things. We haven't been on dates since 1995, we've been working so hard at this,” Mallet chuckles. “You can't go on dates when you're married to rock 'n' roll.”