Arguably, each album released by Silverchair has been an improvement on the last, or at least a marked change in direction. It is a natural progression for a band to evolve away from its early influences, and in this instance the world has listened to the boys become men. As major songwriter Daniel Johns' teenage angst turned into youthful enthusiasm and experimentation, there has been a distinct maturity in the band's songwriting and production. Gone are the heavy Sabbath riffs, the lazy adolescent poetry, and Ben Gillies trying to invoke Bonham or Moon. In their place are catchy melodic hooks, inspired lyrical themes, and stunning string arrangements. This album is the pinnacle of the band's fascinating development. Titled after Van Dyke Parks' nickname for Johns during their time together working on 2002's Diorama, Young Modern is a highly ambitious work that happily jumps from glam rock to sweeping orchestral pastiches and almost everywhere in between. Once the opening sonic aural frenzy of "Young Modern Station" effortlessly segues into the instant rock classic (and Aussie number one hit) "Straight Lines," there is an overwhelming feeling that all bets are off -- there has never been a Silverchair album like this. Diorama and 1998's Neon Ballroom offered a few musical surprises, but ultimately strayed into the familiar grunge-tinged formula that heavily peppered the band's first two long-players. You can hear in Johns' vocal performances a playfulness and energy that never dared show itself in previous works. There can be no doubt that his eclectic 2004 side project release with renowned DJ, remixer, and keyboard player Paul Mac as the Dissociatives opened Johns' musical landscapes wide open, and his vocals on this album are versatile enough to fit into each genre jump. Another contributing factor to the change of the band with this album is Julian Hamilton, of the Sydney duo the Presets, who appears on four of the 11 tracks as a co-writer (the last two Silverchair albums were completely written by Johns). Young Modern made history in the Australian music charts by becoming the fifth straight album by an Australian act to debut at the number one spot. Silverchair are also the only Australian act to achieve five number one albums, eclipsing native heavyweights INXS, Midnight Oil, and Cold Chisel.
AllMusic Review by Clayton Bolger