Finally released in the UK, Carnavas is Silversun Pickups' (or sspu's, for those in the know) first album, after an acclaimed EP in 2005. The vault into that Smashing Pumpkins space where fuzzy overdriven guitars lash behind some melodic indie grunge rock with male and female lead vocals. They fill the hole vacated recently by the Pumpkins wonderfully.
Coming from the Los Angeles Silver Lake Blvd music scene (like Elliott Smith and Rilo Kiley), the band combines wit and a deliciously sharp way with a chorus. And it is that ability to turn indie into memorably anthemic songs that defines their succession to bands like Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. The album's highlight is Future Foe Scenarios, which combines a Placebo-like razor edge throughout with stoner fuzz. Lead man Brian Aubert's vocals come off like Billy Corgan, Nikki Monninger like pop-shoegazers Lush's Miki Berenyi. There are rough edges - sspu seem to be taking their time to get it right, so if Carnavas is just the start, that's great news for us.