Saturday, June 09, 2012

Silversun Pickups shoot for the atmosphere

I admit I was a bit late to the part when it comes to SILVERSUN PICKUPS. I had dabbled in their music but I didn't really listen to their last record till it had been out for over a year. Something about their sound just never really grabbed me the way it did for other people. Maybe I was turned off by the comparisons to SMASHING PUMPKINS (which frankly I don't really see).

When I did finally take in "Swoon" I immediately kicked myself for waiting so long. This is a band that makes big, sweeping songs that have hooks to spare. I wore out the record and started building anticipation for the next release. "Neck of the Woods" does not disappoint in it's ability to both replicate and expand on their signature sound.

Lead singer Brian Aubert does not have the greatest of voices. His delivery range is limited and very nasal when he hits the higher register. This is not unlike Billy Corgan who can't really sing either. But his skill as a lyricist and developer of mood overcomes his limited range. On this record, Aubert has accepted his vocal frailty and turned it into another piece of the atmospheric puzzle. on the opening "Skin Graph", Aubert's vocals blend into the swirling guitar and bass lines to create a wall of ominous sound. "Make Believe" takes advantage a nice guitar pick line to set up the darker tone of the record as a whole. It also allows Nikki Monniger's bass to breathe a little more than before and showcases her deft backing vocal ability. The record really soars with the lead single, "Bloody Mary (Never Endings) which combines the keyboard washes made popular by THE CURE with a harder rock influence a la TOOL. What sounds like an odd paring actually works to great effect. "The Pit" dabbles in retro 80's synth sounds, as if DEPECHE MODE or NEW ORDER all of sudden showed up to jam. "Gun Shy Sunshine" revisits more familiar terrain for the band but with a new emphasis on building atmosphere around their sound to heighten the despair.

Silversun Pickups announced their arrival with "Swoon". With "Neck of the Woods" they stake their claim to the alternative rock big time.

No comments: