Review Summary: Silversun Pickups blast their way beyond their live act and into their first album. Carnavas shows wonderful charisma and continues to build the band's fan-base and fame.
After spending five years to master their live act, L.A. four-some Silversun Pickups released their first recording in the Pikul EP of 2005. Carnavas is the follow-up to Pikul, and blows everything Silversun has done so far out of the water. Featuring a mix of The Smashing Pumpkins and Catherine Wheel’s style of alternative layered instrumentals with My Bloody Valentines’ shoegaze, Silversun puts their own spin on the deal by throwing in vocalist/guitarist Brian Aubert’s softly - almost feminine - mesmerizing voice. Don’t be fooled though, just as the Pickups can revert to overwhelming dramatic instrumentals, so can Aubert as he almost painfully yells out in songs like "Future Foe Scenarios." After their intro "Melatonin," (a tune about a girl and her favorite drug) the Pickups dive into their most Smashing hit, "Well Thought Out Twinkles." "Twinkles" delivers catchy fast-paced guitar work all to a ferocious drum beat, and the first of the many feed-back surrounded solos that take your breath away.
The album continues with "Little Lover's So Polite," a groove-like song that pulls it all away for bassist Nikki Monninger’s quick vocal solo, "Broke remains, an everyday disguise / Ending in the same way. . .the same way," before launching into another speedy layered solo. "Future Foe Scenarios" is one of the deepest tracks on the album, and best displays Silversun Pickups’ use of dynamics and emotional climaxes to send chills down listeners’ spines. Moving along at an unsteady, untrustworthy pace, the song opens up to heavily distorted guitars and Aubert exhaustively yelling "This revolution baby / Proves who you work for lately." The instrumentals crash into a sea of feedback as he eerily repeats "It’s alright" over and over in a tone that lets you know it’s anything but. Other songs show off other areas of the bands’ might, "Waste it On" features a haunting bass solo, and "Lazy Eye" is another emotional roller coaster similar to Pikul’s "Kissing Families."
The album closes with the lyrical masterpiece "Common Reactor," a less exciting piece instrumentally but one that gives way to Aubert’s fluid lyrics, "Cuz maybe if we’re loud we’ll stay alive / While everybody wants to join the fight…But even if we barricade the door and seal it with the blood found on the floor / We’re always going to cross the finish line / While everybody wants to run and hide." Silversun Pickups blow any expectations out of the water, and clearly mark themselves as on a road to something greater. Every song on this album can be someone’s favorite, and the Pickups deliver a brand of rock that’s influenced just enough to get them the cool labels (indie/alternative/shoegazers) but just enough originality and lyrical depth to keep people coming back for more. A must for any rock fan.