Review of Pickul Album by Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups
EP Review

Silversun Pickups Pickul Album

How America seems to yearn for another Smashing Pumpkins, although whilst Billy Corgan and a few session musicians jog around the world’s aircraft hangars plugging the underwhelming Zeitgeist, any appetite for the real thing seems to have waned. The irony is of course that in 2007 alt. Liberty’s musical stock has never been higher, with the likes of LCD Soundsystem, The Shins and The Hold Steady at the vanguard of a healthy list of exports which are helping to balance her cultural trade deficit.

After pupating in LA’s Silver Lake - the similarly boho West Coast equivalent of Portland’s communal art enclave - Silversun Pickups emergence with debut Carnavas was bathed in a critical aura usually reserved for the likes of indie demagogues Sonic Youth or Pavement, whilst single Lazy Eye proved that integrity and commerce can co-exist successfully. A re-issue of their 2005 debut EP, it would be plain wrong not to allude to the aspects of familiarity between Pickul and the Pumpkins of old - not least in Brian Aubert’s slightly adenoidal vocals and the familiar quiet-loud dynamic of uptempo openers Kissing Families and Comeback Kid - but if both shudder under the weight of critical over analysis, the LA four piece should be credited for an essential jettisoning of their doppelganger’s faux gothic undertones. It’s in Booksmart Devil’s stripped back austerity or the pastoral folk of Creation Lake however that Pickul is at it’s most effective, with bassist Nikki Monninger’s fragile intonations adding a layer of vulnerability and beguilement that belies the Pickups’ obvious art rock pretensions. All of this makes the gimmicky inclusion of a slew of hidden tracks before closer Sci-Fi Lullaby genuinely baffling, but elsewhere there is much to admire.


Andy Peterson

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