Silversun Pickups

Dangerbird Records, 2009


REVIEW BY: Jedediah Pressgrove


Ah, fuzzy guitar. I really like how Silversun Pickups kick off Swoon. “There’s No Secrets This Year” is high energy all the way through (thanks to drummer Chris Guanlao, whose playing brings to mind a pine martin on uppers), complete with a silly chorus: “I’ll tell you a secret / Let’s make this perfectly clear / There’s no secrets this year.”

Oh, yeah. They sound like Smashing Pumpkins, share the same initials (SP!), and also feature a female bass player. You can point this out to your friends and feel proud of yourself – might as well shamelessly pat yourself on the back for a conclusion that anyone who listened to 1990’s rock radio could reach.


I’m going to skip a few tracks to talk about “Panic Switch,” which follows the soft verse/loud chorus dynamic. The lyrics for the verses have brevity on their side, but that’s about it: “Time / It’s never worth my time / Blue shine / Bleeds into my eyes.” The best part is the lyrics for the bridge: “I’m waiting and fading and floating away / I’m waiting and fading and floating away / I’m waiting and fading and floating away / Waiting and fading and floating.”

I still have no idea why lead singer Brian Aubert or whoever is floating away, but this is a catchy-ass song. The power of Silversun Pickups is coating embarrassing lyrics with enough energy, hooks, and fuzz to make the ordeal…fun.

So why the hell does the band lollygag on the majority of these tracks? The answer is that they take themselves too seriously. They must believe the lyrics are powerful.

But laughing at a young adult’s journal is not enough for me. “Growing Old Is Getting Old” is a hilarious title for a song, and it gets more pathetic from there: “Pressure on / Our hollow bones / And varicose / Suddenly / We decompose / But we’re not alone / So we all are growing old.” What isn’t funny is waiting more than three minutes for the music to go anywhere. And at that point, I’m not digging the energy, just wishing the band would be more self-destructive than wistful.

To be fair, Aubert’s vocals are somewhat moving toward the end of “The Royal We” – right before the song enters its boring final minute. Again, many tracks are too long and too slow, especially when you consider that the ideas behind them have only slightly more credibility and depth than a ten-year-old lamenting death and taxes. But at least the ten-year-old has irony on his side.

It’s a damn shame. “There’s No Secrets This Year,” “Panic Switch,” and “Substitution” are solid pop songs, but Swoon is drudgery when taken as a whole. If Silversun Pickups would be more energetic and cut down on the whining, they could be a good pop band.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Jedediah Pressgrove and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dangerbird Records, and is used for informational purposes only.