Is The SSF Gonna Rock You?

Mephistopheles1981, eagle-eyed observer of the Sri Lankan diaspora, writes in with a tip on L.A.-based rock band The Slow Signal Fade.  The quartet features Sri Lankan-born Marguerite Olivelle as its lead singer, and a bunch of other people that I don’t care about because they’re not Sri Lankan.  (Just kidding, Ron Ulicny, Chris Walters, and Christy Greenwood!  You guys seem nice, too.)  According to a cached Google page from their website-in-progress, the band “formed in fall of 2002 through an array of failed alliances, random acquaintances, circumstance and numerous ads in the LA based classified paper The Recycler.”  They went on to record a five-song E.P. called the “Kindling E.P.,” setting some sort of land-speed record in the process:

Their first demo turned into their first album, “Kindling E.P.,” and was recorded in only eight hours.

“We had to pay studio time and didn’t have enough time to listen to the CD before we released it,” Walters said. 


p>I don’t know that I would necessarily want to advertise that aspect of my debut album, but fair enough.  This year they released a second E.P. called Through the Opaque Air.  So what does The Slow Signal Fade sound like?  Lots of stuff, apparently:

Armed with a vast collection of esoteric and sometimes conflicting influences, they have crafted a unique sound….a delicate blend of power and intimacy that sits comfortably and transcends genre.

Their musical influences vary from the likes of classic rock bands including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors….through early post-punk and pop like The Cure, New Order, The Police, and U2… the modern sonics of Mogwai, Tool, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Fugazi. The SSF’s evocative style, colorful melodies, and engaging percussions provide the foundation for the beautiful, timeless and ethereal vocals that draw inspiration from singing legends ranging from Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, to Chrissie Hynde, Sinead O’Connor and Cat Power. This band provides a musical journey that leaves an indelible mark on the listener, a refreshing balance of musicianship and candor. [Link]

And what do people who aren’t in the band think they sound like?  From Popmatters:

It’s Disintegration-era The Cure as done by The Cranberries, all epic slow tempos and one-note guitar lines fronted by Marguerite Olivelle’s lovely, pitch-perfect, urgent vocals. It’s a combination that shouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as it is, but the wall of sound on display is exotic, acid-washed, and somehow really accessible. [Link]

A quick listen to a few of their songs, especially “Push Pull Push,” leads me to think the Cranberries comparison is particularly apt.  However, as the great LeVar Burton once said, “You don’t have to take my word for it!” since free MP3s are available at their website.

12 thoughts on “Is The SSF Gonna Rock You?

  1. As I hastily scanned the first few lines of the post, my mind latched onto the phrases “Sri Lankan” , “rock you” and ofcourse “donÂ’t care about because theyÂ’re not Sri Lankan.” ;) I concluded that this was Yet Another MIA Post.

    But further visual inspection proved otherwise. And these guys have a cooler(nerdier?) name and they sound better than MIA. Awesome find Ads!

    ducking for cover before Cicatrix and Anna pummel me with the rain of a million fists of indignation

  2. Hey Whoever has written this blog post- (sorry don’t really care to check).

    Just name the hot chick in bold letters and provide a link to her. DOn’t make me go thru all the writin’ crap to find her name/profile. thanks a bunch. keep up the good work.

  3. Hi ads, nice find. The lady sure has a nice voice. Try this for their comprehensive profile (got there by clicking on CD image :)

    Push Pull is good. starts slow and builds up nicely, but it never reaches the perfect crescendo, like say, sweetchildintime. Also the starting sequence of CharlieHustles(pete rose) is v.close to some v.popular song, which I’m sure most of you’d have heard. I just can’t figure out which one it is. I think some metallica song(nothing else matters??). however rest of charliehustle is v.good. I liked it more than PushPull.

    Summon the Painter sounds like a total rip-off of that song(video of which shows 2 (3?) girls blazing down a burning truck through the seasons – what band is that, I dont know?). probably they are taking the ‘influence’ thing a bit too far that they are v.close to Anu Malik. Pls tell them in Sinhalese not to copy. They are quite good to hold it on their own :-)

    One more thing I dont understand is this some kinda pressure on all these new bands to stuff their albums with one track of each type (pure, alti, soft-slow, folkish, punkish blablah)…somewhere in all this they tend to lose their original voice. I see that all the time with these local country crooners here in Austin. I am no guru of any genre of music, and I understand artists want to experiment various styles, but you can sortof make out the bluff if it’s planted. And then they keep frothing about local music..local this .. local that.. local my foot!

    Since we are on songs, let me introduce you to this Austineer, GuyForsyth( – LongLongTime..awesome track)

    Again, thanks for this find!

    btw, man this ‘sss’ sure seems to be v.desperate. Probably one of the best back-handed compliments I’ve seen in a long time now. I like these guys. They come, they see the photo..umm no links ..huffpuff..blowsmoke..belchbellow..leave. nice detour from the mundane commenting ;)

  4. Thanks everyone for the comments! Suhail, to be honest, I didn’t actually like “Push Pull Push” that much. I just mentioned it because the sound reminded me of the Cranberries on a first listen, but the song’s a little, I dunno, torpid, for my tastes. I’m trying to reserve judgement until I give the songs a more careful listen, though.

  5. Exact copy of the cranberries. I wouldnt be suprised if she started singing about war in her native Ireland and wrote a songs about her strong Irish appearance.

  6. yeah, maybe if they got rid of “BROWNIES” they’d be a little better….I’ve heard they now have an “Indian” drummer too…..bummer!! :)

  7. I dunno what the rest of you are going on about, but she has an AMAZING voice. It is freakishly pitch-perfect, crystelline, and sends shivers down my spine.

    IMO, they sound sort of like a Spiderland-era Slint with a less-jazzy Tanuja Desai on vocals.

    (wow. I’d clean out my bank account to see that combo ever happen.)

  8. Listening to it again, I now like it better and her voice is awesome, it makes we want to cry, but wish she came along before the cranberries, maybe someone can kick the lead singer of cranberries in the vocal chords. She already has enough money.

  9. Are we looking for Sri Lankan bands that rock ? Try My Vitriol. Atleast one (Som Wardner), possibly two (Ravi Kesavaram), srilankan and with a name like that you know they rock.