When the Telephone Rings bursts out of the starting blocks with "The Only Love," a fiery rocker fueled by some high-octane guitar from the great Richard Lloyd, and for five minutes it sounds like Walter Salas-Humara and his latest edition of the Silos have finally made the top-shelf rock & roll record they've long had in 'em (and almost made with Laser Beam Next Door). Sad to say, the album never kicks quite that hard again, but When the Telephone Rings manages a taut emotional intensity that's both bracing and satisfying, and it still rocks with greater conviction than most anything in the band's catalog. Much of the album was cut with Salas-Humara on guitar, Drew Glackin on drums, and Konrad Meissner on drums, and together they're a tight rhythm section capable of cutting an impressive groove, with a rotating cast of friends filling out the sound. The Silos circa 2004 are a capable power trio who don't need all that much assistance to bring these songs up to speed, and when they want to ease things back a bit, they can still hit the target (as on the moody title cut). And while Salas-Humara remains a passionate realist two decades into the Silos' career, these 11 songs celebrate life in all its glories (as well its occasional indignities) as only someone who's been around the block a few times can. When the Telephone Rings is rock & roll by grown-ups for grown-ups, and the maturity and wisdom inherent in this music doesn't minimize the sweaty fun to be had. Read the lyrics and turn it up.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming