Silversun Pickups
Carnavas


4.5
superb

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (18 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2007 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins are inevitable, but the band makes an album that was almost perfect on the first try and maybe makes a 90s revival not too far away.

Back in 1991, a quirky four-piece band from Chicago called Smashing Pumpkins released their debut album, Gish on an indie label before receiving considerable critical acclaim. They caught the ears of radio listeners everywhere with their fuzzy, layered guitars and Corgan’s whining yet screeching vocal performances. Their melodic, slow-building single Rhinoceros got considerable measures of airplay and the band toured relentlessly before creating their masterpiece Siamese Dream.

In 2006, a quirky four-piece band from Los Angeles called Silversun Pickups released their debut album, Carnavas on an indie label before receiving considerable critical acclaim. They caught the ears of radio listeners everywhere with their fuzzy, layered guitars and Aubert’s whining, low-key vocal performances. Their melodic, slow-building single Lazy Eye got considerable measures of airplay and the band toured relentless before creating their masterpiece ______________.

Notice any similarities?

Strangely similar, huh? The largest difference between the Pumpkins’ rise to fame and the Pickups’ inevitable rise to fame is the fact that this is 2006 and music is much different than it was in 1991. Back in 1991, the grunge movement exploded and the Pumpkins got lumped in with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc. Silversun Pickups, on the other hand are going for a full-out 90s revival. Sounding as similar as possible to Smashing Pumpkins while maintaining a considerable amount of unique style, the band gives a heavy does of nostalgia while pushing forward. Kids nowadays seem uninterested in alternative rock, but somehow, the Pickups are getting a large fanbase. Everyone at your high school knows Lazy Eye, somehow. I’m not calling them the saviors of rock, but there’s considerable appeal here for this indie band.

The band clearly patterns their songs off of Pumpkins’ tracks; Lazy Eye opens up with a simplistic but catchy opening riff that is dulled and slowly builds. The band maintains their independence and sound though, as the band has a much dirtier, mellowed-out style courtesy of the fuzzy, distorted riffs and the lead singer Brian Aubert’s dulling vocals, creating the ultimate chill-out album. The album is ultra-melodic, but the album is heavy at times and catchy still. Aubert even pulls out a scream which you wouldn’t expect after listening to the verse of Lazy Eye. Somehow the scream is strangely enjoyable as well. Lazy Eye showcases his screaming voice with style. There’s something oddly enjoyable about the vocal performances on Carnavas.

The album flows together better than most albums released the past 10 years. It's a whole album, not an album of songs that have nothing to do with one another. The songs all strangely tie in together and weave an odd but addicting soundscape that achieves an epic status. There’s no doubt, this is an epic album. There is an aura of greatness, and a bit of immaturity as the band barely misses the mark of making the perfect album on the first try. Over-rating a debut album is deadly, but the Silversun Pickups clearly have the talent to astonish us with a follow-up. That’s why anything less than Siamese Dream for the millennium is a disappointment.

There’s a few tracks that will send you five feet back in your chair on Carnavas, like Well Thought Out Twinkles which implements another addicting, yet simplistic riff and the drummer, Guanlao seeming suspiciously jazz-fusion-esque. Little Lover’s So Polite opens up with a riff that shuns My Bloody Valentine’s noise rock style and turns a track atrociously titled Little Lover’s So Polite into a legitimate catchy rock song. Future Foe Scenarios is an uber-melodic heavier track that is perfectly epic and accessible enough to be the next hit single. The album clearly hinges on the hit single Lazy Eye, though. The song slowly builds on a riff until it explodes and Aubert roars screams above the ever-growing riff. The track eventually blows up into a distortion-fest before it dies again. And, then, Common Reactor ends the album on a high-note with a chorus that showcases Aubert’s superior songwriting skills and the band’s ability to jam better than most bands around today.

Similarities to Smashing Pumpkins aside, the band has the ability to be the next coming of Nirvana. Whether they can do that in future releases is up to the band, but they’ve got the ability. Carnavas seems so almost-perfect, just misstep on the over usage of distortion and a few, well, boring tracks. I miss Alternative/Hard Rock, and it’s nice to see a band bring rock back, kicking and screaming to a new millennium, blasting your eardrums out with each track. It’s time for a 90s revival…music today is much too terrible, and hopefully Silversun Pickups will lead the way to better rock music.



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user ratings (799)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Max R. (5)
Because maybe if we're loud we'll stay alive....

backinhindsight (4.5)
A+ Fuzz Rock...

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Silversun Pickups blast their way beyond their live act and into their first album. Carnavas shows w...

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An accessible marriage of grunge and indie rock....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MoonlightBleeding
December 23rd 2007


452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Merry Christmas.

Thought I'd squeak this sucker out before Christmas.

tcaporale
December 23rd 2007


177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I agree, this band has a hell of a lot of potential...most of the songs here are great, which is all you can ask for in a debut album. I don't think anything on the album is bad per se, but it doesn't feel perfect, like it's missing something. But, it's a great alt. rock album.

FriendofTheDevil70
December 23rd 2007


384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I love this band, agreed with everything you said.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this album rules.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2007


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

eh.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

AtavanHalen
December 24th 2007


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Amazing record, good review.
However, I'm sick to death of all the Pumpkins references, it's ridiculous!

cometuesday
December 24th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review man, I couldn't have said any more or less.
Truth be told I didn't like these guys when I first heard Lazy Eye on the radio, nor had I heard any comparisons or anything. Then I was watching some late show one night and they just happened to be playing, ended up blowing me away, and my first thought was "Whoa... they sounded a lot like the Pumpkins there, man."
Only then did I actually get the album and started reading up and, lo and behold, a lot of people are drawing the same parallels. I'd love to see these guys go further.

MoonlightBleeding
December 24th 2007


452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They are really awesome live.

I saw them open for Snow Patrol.

Anyway, I hope they go far as well. They are really good.

Oh, and at the comparisons, well, listen to the CD...it's total Pumpkins, but with a modern twist.This Message Edited On 12.24.07

ChowderHead
July 6th 2009


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I used to think this band was just ok but after letting the songs grow on me it became one of my current favorites. An excellent album.

SCREAMorphine
December 8th 2011


1758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Besides the line up of the band the only comparison I can see is guitar in Lazy Eye and 1979..



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