The Silent League's debut album The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused is the soundtrack for any indie rock fan weary of working for a living. If you're saving yourself by indulging in reveries of a better scene, look toward this post-rock/experimental symphony instead. Once a touring keyboardist for Mercury Rev, Justin Russo composes an atmospheric work of art similar to his former band, but with an ease much like the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin and the Polyphonic Spree's first album. Along with an ensemble cast of musicians -- Phil Williams (drums), Michael Adzich (keyboards), Megan Loomis (violin), Rich Meyer (bass), and Shannon Fields (electric guitar) -- the Silent League go beyond the blackish imagery of their name. They make it possible to swim with the stream of majestic instrumentation, particularly on "Motion Pictures" and "Conversation." These are basic pop tunes with hints of melancholy; however, Russo's slate-colored tenor makes defeat and disappointment seem less concerning. The album's title track reaches for long-gone treasured moments while "Goliath" basks in sunnier string arrangements for the album's finest journey in self-assessment. The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused also includes participation from Interpol's Sam Fogarino, Grand Mal guitarist Bill Whitten, Mercury Rev's Sean "Grasshopper" Mackowiack, and Russo's brother and fellow Hopewell member Jason Russo. It's a family circle of sorts as Russo personal search for a greater adventure unfolds. He's joined the rest of us in trying to find that "funny feeling" that makes things seems A-OK.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson