Silversun Pickups Pickup where Swoon Left Off

The pulsing broken chords that ring out on front man Brian Aubert’s guitar are reminiscent of a Smashing Pumpkin’s riff.  Instead of just plucking a single string, the broken chords give a shoe gazing sound, as heard in the band’s hit “Lazy Eye.”

And though the subject matter of the lyrics are usually shy and standoffish, the band live is almost the exact opposite.  Chris Guanlao’s long, black hair whips up and down as he drums with the force a punk band could use.  For some reason, he places his crash cymbal to the point his arm can just barely extend long enough to reach it.  So in the middle of a fast song his arm just shoots straight up to hit the crash.  Quite amusing, indeed.

Neck of the Woods, the band’s third studio album is the longest yet, with eleven tracks.  Most of the tracks are around five minutes long, and at a length a Pitchfork review thinks is too long.  But take into account the band’s two singles that made the U.S. charts were both over five minutes and thirty seconds.  The interplay between the guitar and bass is crucial to Silversun Pickups songs because there are plenty of moments where the Aubert is just bashing out on a chord to the point where the energy of the song is at its highest.  In order to get the song going again, the guitar drops out and the bass remains. That completely changes the mood of the song from a crazed, manic state to one that’s mellower.  This buildup can’t happen if it were to be a song under three minutes.  So it seems long tracks are just Silversun Pickups’ style.  Even on small acoustic takes, I have yet to see Aubert play without bassist Nikki Monninger because the bass is such an important part in changing the feel of the song.

Though Aubert does not have a technically-sound singing voice, he seems to fit well with the new album’s songs.  But when he’s scraping away at his guitar like a hopeful lotto winner going at their scratch off ticket, Aubert seems to lack some of the intensity that he had on his previous work.  Bloody Mary, the first single, is the song getting radio play right now from the record, but to me a couple other songs surpass it. The approach of the band is the same, but the production of the songs seems cleaner.

Rating: W — P — G  1/2

Key Tracks: “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)”, “The Pit”, and “Gun-Shy Sunshine”

RIYL: Smashing Pumpkins, Kill Hannah, Placebo

Check out : “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)

About Stanton Polanski

I like to play guitar in my free time. Some bands I really like are Nirvana, the Strokes, and Black Pistol Fire. My favorite food is pizza, and I like gazing into the sunset while watching birds fly above me.

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