LOCAL LIVE Silver Griffin is composed of three extremely competent musicians, the kind who turn toward one another and half-smile after the execution of a particularly tricky harmony or a successful groove. The band traffics in a muscular, half-danceable brand of indie rock that's notable mostly for the meticulous slickness of its composition airtight, but not quite suffocating.
The trio took the stage Sept. 22 at the Rockit Room, breezing through a note-perfect set of songs alternately slinky and strutting. The gig served as a CD release party for the band's self-released debut, a collaboration with veteran producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers) titled Here in the Night. The tunes are mostly built off frontperson Liam McCormick's lilting lyrics and lithe leads, which culminate in chiming eighth-note chorus chords and the vocalist's wistful, high-register crooning.
Silver Griffin's songs occasionally evince jazz underpinnings, which might explain the well-honed musicianship that makes the group such a satisfying live act. On record, however, otherwise taut tracks are plagued by meandering horn solos and swells that recall a horrific combination of smooth jazz and Maroon 5's discarded ideas, convincing at least this reviewer that collusion between indie and fusion is not in anyone's best interest. McCormick is also a thoroughgoing abuser of the falsetto "Ooo-ooo" vocal technique, often choosing to deploy such dolphin-language scat antics at precisely the point in the song when a memorable lyric would be a bonus.
These caveats aside, Silver Griffin has its fair share of moments, especially when the songs play to the strengths of the talented rhythm section duo, Greg Black and Seabrien Arata. Set standouts included "Taste My Kiss" and "Goldfinger," a shaken-not-stirred homage to the classic Shirley Bassey James Bond theme.
SILVER GRIFFIN Sat/6, 9 p.m., $7, Time Out Bar and Patio, 1822 Grant, Concord. (925) 798-1811, www.timeoutconcord.com
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