Silversun Pickups
Swoon


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
April 14th, 2009 | 367 replies | 46,264 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An impressive record from an impressive up and coming band.

In the past, when ever I've listened to Silversun Pickups, I've always gotten the impression that I've heard a vaguely similar sound before. This isn't so much a negative observation as it is a curious one. Critics have often likened the band to Smashing Pumpkins and, to a lesser degree, My Bloody Valentine; though such comparisons are certainly appropriate, Carnavas never came off as Siamese Dream-worship. Rather, it simply explored early 90s alt rock and shoegaze themes and applied it in a manner that was relevant to an alternative band in 2006. Predictably, the results were fantastic, with tracks like "Rusted Wheel" and "Lazy Eye" among the strongest songs of the year.

With Swoon, Silversun Pickups continues to explore their 90s rock sound, while further embracing their pop sensibilities. If some of the shoegaze elements have been toned down, the band hasn't exactly softened up. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Aubert summed up Swoon aptly, stating that "[while] some songs are very quiet and delicate, others are just ***ing loud". Aubert's guitar crunch is a staple throughout the album; first single "Panic Switch", one of the most aggressive songs Silversun Pickups has written thus far, is especially characterized by Aubert's heavy usage of distortion. Songs like "It's Nice to Know You Work Alone" and "Sort Of" also utilize guitar rock elements, albeit not quite as liberally. Unlike "Panic Switch", Aubert's guitar tracks aren't so much the centrepiece of the song as they focus more on accentuating pop hooks and melodies. It makes for an effective change in pace, diversifying the record and maintaining a distinct atmosphere that makes "There's No Secrets This Year" and "Panic Switch" so absorbing.

Swoon's softer songs take a little more getting used to. Lacking the infectious enthusiasm of a "Panic Switch" (which, impressively enough, was added to the album as "an afterthought"), a song like "Draining" just isn't as much fun to listen to as the former. But the likes of "Draining" and "Catch and Release" offer listeners a more earnest sounding Silversun Pickups. Between the sparkling guitar of "Growing Old Is Getting Old", the grooves of "Catch and Release", and the heavy usage of a sixteen piece orchestra in "Draining", Silversun Pickups' more intimate material is unquestionably warmer than the heavy rockers, more than making up for the lack of energy. "The Royal We" maintains a similar build, with an additional sense of heaviness. The soft/heavy, strings/distorted guitar dynamics work extremely well, and though the song isn't one of the catchier pieces available on Swoon, its rising crescendo of sound is one of the most memorable moments on the album.

But most of all, what makes Swoon such an enjoyable album to listen to is its youthful exuberance. Though Silversun Pickups tackle the 'difficult second album' in a relatively serious manner, Swoon's prevailing mood is nonchalant and confident. Every song flows quite naturally, and in spite of the sometimes grandiose structuring of a "Panic Switch", "There's No Secrets This Year", or "The Royal We", the album is down to earth and fun to listen to. All things considered, Swoon is an impressive record from an impressive up and coming band. It's intimate, accessible, and – Pumpkins comparisons aside – fairly unique in today's scene. What more could one ask for?



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user ratings (751)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Rationalist (4)
Nostalgic Indie at its almost-best....

Guy Smiley (2.5)
The Silversun Pickups follow their solid debut album Carnavas with a slightly lesser effort in Swoon...

red0 (4.5)
Silversun Pickups go big, ambitious, and come out on top....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As solid as a review as ever Mike. Well summed up. A small typo in the 2nd paragraph though; "If some of the shoegaze elements have been toned done,"

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2009



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

impressive review

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

impressive impressive impression

AtavanHalen
April 14th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good stuff!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2009



17190 Comments


excellent review/album.

Tyler
Emeritus
April 14th 2009



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

up and coming all over your face

album is good and that comment was uncalled for

DFelon204409
Emeritus
April 14th 2009



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is just great.

Photon
April 14th 2009



1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A decent EP and two really good albums.. and still an up and coming band ,,,Hmmm...

Coggyswell
April 14th 2009



112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i saw these guys in December of '06 and i had never heard anything but 'lazy eye' (they were playing with Coheed in STL). Let's just say that their live show got me into them and they quickly became one of my favorite bands. if they come near you on tour go see them, it's worth it.

this album doesn't touch carnavas but i'm hoping it grows on me as i keep listening to it.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
April 14th 2009



3760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So frikkin good.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 14th 2009



4459 Comments


I wasn't so big on Carnavas, but I shall check this out. review is neat-o.


StrizzMatik
April 14th 2009



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heard a lot about these guys. I must check them out it seems.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

KebertXela
April 14th 2009



367 Comments


An impressive record from an impressive up and coming band.


Band's been around for 9 years...soon to be a decade. I guess you could say that's "up and coming"...but "veterans of the scene" would actually be more applicable. Decent review though.This Message Edited On 04.14.09

alachlahol
April 14th 2009



7471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lots of hype surrounding this biotch.

ant4tbc
April 14th 2009



373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is good but...not as good as their last

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 14th 2009



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band's been around for 9 years...soon to be a decade.
Well, I was refering to the broader mainstream attention they've been beginning to receive over the last couple years, but fair enough

Sempel
April 14th 2009



17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Any song as good as Future Foe Scenarios?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2009



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah that is still their best song

thatguy84
April 14th 2009



214 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album is good, but after the first half it kind of loses steam and the songs (Particularly Draining and Sort Of) start sounding kind of generic "We're Silversun Pickups" songs. Also, Draining sound so much like Waste It On (slowed down, obviously) that it almost feels intentional. Substitution and Catch & Release are interesting though, I'll probably end up liking them a lot eventually.

My favorite songs right off the bat are There's No Secrets This Year, The Royal We, Growing Old is Getting Old, and Panic Switch.

AggravatedYeti
April 14th 2009



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

awesome review, makes me want to listen to this
I was previously not impressed by this band at all



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