Friday, May 15, 2009

Silversun Pickups Take Us For a Ride

Silversun Pickups has a great name, a great sound, and a passion for taking their listeners on widely divergent paths. The band consists of Brian Aubert (lead vocals/guitar), Nikki Monninger (bass/vocals), Christopher Guanlao (drums), and Joe Lester (keyboards). Their second full-length album, "Swoon" hit the records stores last month to very positive reviews.

Named after a liquor store in Los Angeles, the band drifts the listener through a group of calm, floating songs, then plunges downward into a spiral of screaming guitar distortion. Their first single, "Panic Switch" breaks open with a fuzzy, distorted intro, and then Brian Aubert's whispered growl breaks through... "When you see yourself in a crowded room/Do your fingers itch, are you pistol-whipped?/And will you step in line or release the glitch?/And can you fall asleep with a panic switch?"

One of my favorite songs on the album is "The Royal We" which features choppy bass beats layered over explosive guitars, with Aubert working up to a scream: "You said you believe, but believing won't fly/Right before you hit your prime/That's when we fell in love, but not the first time/And when it's all over and you open your eyes/You see the room turned on its side/And you'll be lying down and over on the floor; signed, The Royal We." Aubert's voice on this song brings to mind Billy Corgan, but Aubert's got his own style and sharp lyrics that set the band apart from other top alt bands.

"Draining" is a glistening song where the band takes a breather, getting their breath back as Monniger and Guanlao tap out a meditative rhythm that provides a backdrop to Aubert's addictive chants.

If you're ready to take a ride through a shimmering variety of audioscapes, this record's for you. Silversun Pickups is an immensely talented band that is destined to surprise and amaze us for years to come.