ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 11, 1997
By Steve Newton
You’ve gotta think pretty highly of yourself to issue a five-disc box set when you’ve only got two albums to your name, but that’s what teenage Aussie grunge-rockers Silverchair have done with this limited-edition import, The Freak Box. Even more bizarre, though, is the likelihood that the band’s rabid, mostly female fans—like the ones who almost delimbed singer-guitarist Daniel Johns during last year’s Foxfest appearance—will lap this one up. What do they care if it only contains 14 songs? (I guess the big draw is the fact that 10 of them are “non-album bonus tracks”, as the promo sticker boasts.)
Just as attractive to Silverchair fanatics as the Nirvana-like music here is the interactive CD-ROM that’s included. A total techno-clod myself, I decided to step right into the computer age and try CD-ROM for the first time, and it was really cool! You point and click all over this sideshow setting and curtains part to reveal the Silverkids rocking out in mini-videos and sitting on a couch, chatting about their tunes. As if that doesn’t get fans close enough to the essence of the band, one of the discs is a 17-minute interview that boasts questions like “Do you get heaps of detentions?” and answers like “Nuhh…not really. None at all really.”
I for one am relieved that the Silverchair members aren’t of the delinquent ilk, because my 16-year-old niece is obsessed with them—they’re a big part of the reason she wants to move to Australia next year. She cried tears of joy and could hardly catch her breath when I gave her an advance promo cassette of Freak Show last Christmas, so I’ll be attaining godlike status when I unload The Freak Box on her this yuletide.
I just hope she survives the unwrapping.