Features, Print January 1, 2018

Silver & Gold – The Long Road Home

by Jed Murphy

When Silver & Gold began five years ago in Greeley, Colorado, reaching the point where they were releasing material and actively touring was a distant dream. At the time, most of the band were students at the University of Northern Colorado and had the youthful exuberance of a group just beginning to get their feet wet in the industry. Rosy cheeked and ambitious, Silver & Gold put together an alternative rock set that we can safely say in hindsight, was not very good. But, it’s also safe to say there was something to their music, something special that lifted them up amongst their peers. Maybe it was their understanding of melody; maybe it was their goofball stage banter. Whatever it was, audiences were starting to tune in.

Now, five years later I’m sitting with lead vocalist and guitarist Devon Hildebrandt at a coffee shop in Greeley (where the band still resides) after the band just got back from their second tour of the year. The rosy cheeks and the freshman fifteen are gone, replaced by the tired resolve of a musician who’s been driving a van too long. “Maybe we’re playing our instruments better?” Hildebrandt says with a laugh, looking back on their early days. Currently made up of Hildebrandt on guitar and vocals, Claire Jensen on vocals and keys, Pie Lombardi IV on lead guitar, Brandon Vela on bass, and Taylor Drose on drums, Silver & Gold has more than just become better musicians, they have found the rhythm to being a professional band.

A Silver & Gold set is a much different thing now compared to when they began. While their music is lumped into the alternative rock genre, their sound has taken on a heavier and more melodic quality over the years. Taking full advantage of their classical training from the University of Northern Colorado Music School, they incorporate intricate timing and chord changes, all while still maintaining an accessible pop sound. According to guitarist Lombardi, the best description they received on their recent west coast tour was a, “heavier Death Cab for Cutie.”

After a string of EPs and singles, Silver & Gold is releasing their first full-length album titled Point A – Point A, a move that for Hildebrandt represents much more than just the checking of a box on the list of things bands are supposed to do. A concept album, the title Point A – Point A is a reference to the circular nature of life, and finding yourself back at start after a long journey.

Solid, wondering, and concise, this album taps into a sense of happiness and loneliness all at the same time. Each song pushes the album’s concept to the front, always resolving nicely back at the beginning but taking the winding road to get there. “We challenged ourselves a lot on this record. These songs are hard for us to play,” he says with a laugh. “We wrote hard songs.”

Hildebrandt establishes himself as a great songwriter and vocalist, and on the surface it’s his voice that drives each song. Soaring and angelic, it’s easy to buy what he’s selling. But behind him is a band that so clearly feeds him what he needs to pump out genuine emotionalism. “Pie’s lines pull us through and really dictate where the melody goes,” says Hildebrandt. “The lineup we have is just so phenomenal. Taylor and I have been playing music together since we were 14… and Claire is just stupid good at everything.”

Recorded in Denver in the home studio of Mickey Postillion of the band Overslept, Silver & Gold began tracking in April of 2017. Due to scheduling conflicts and their obligations in the real world, recording took longer than expected, but in the end the extra time allowed them to fully develop the songs. The final product is the band at their best, taking that special something they’ve always had and cranking it as loud as it will go. So maybe it’s their understanding of melody, maybe it’s their goofball stage banter; maybe it’s both in some strange way. Whatever it is, it’s got great sounding guitars on it.

Get ready for one of the best local albums of the year and make sure to be at their album release January 19th at the Moxi Theater.