Silversun Pickups (SSPU) arrived to some small fanfare in 2007, with their debut full length 'Carnavas' garnering some solid critical support and affording them the not entirely selective 'one to watch' tag. An album with some standout tracks - none more so than sprawling live favourite Lazy Eye - there was still something incomplete.....it wasn't an album that one would necessarily need to listen through end-to-end in order to gain the maximum enjoyment. This is what playlists made acceptable, right?
Wrong. A coherent full album that realises the potential of a band and showcases its varied qualities remains one of the most laudible achievements in music creation. Despite the ever-shifting sands of the music industry and a tendency towards track-driven sales and listening, quality albums are still of great importance, at least for the forseeable future as those generations nurtured on the format are still listening and, more importantly, buying.
Which all relates back to SSPU because with sophomore effort 'Swoon' the band has returned with the rounded out, well-balanced album at which they had only previously hinted.
It holds onto the fuzzed out, Smashing Pumpkins-heavy 90's influence - something which seems to have become an unfortunate millstone around the neck of the band in certain critical corners - but pushes further on, lending a sweeping majesty to the album. This confident dynamism offers a greater depth to the band's sound, which broods in places, only to shake itself from the temporary funk and come back brighter with a joyous attack of guitars and unrestrained drums. Nowhere is this better evidenced than on the magnificent Growing Old is Getting Old, which arrives inconspicuously but surfs out on a powerful wave of guitar noise.
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In seeking a criticism of 'Swoon', the most obvious comes in the lack of individually accessible, immediate songs. Panic Switch is the lead off song being used for promo/video purposes, yet in a blow-for-blow match up with an established hero like the Well Thought Out Twinkles, it would come out with a bloodied nose and a confused expression. Ganged up with the rest of its mates from Swoon - including the emotive Sort Of and expansive, grammatically troubling opener There's No Secrets This Year, however, it is more than capable of delivering a knockout revenge attack on those from Carnavas.
With all this said, what the new album offers is a neat counterpoint to the highs and lows of their debut. Both will certainly mesh together to form a solid live set. But in coming back to a personal listening experience, when the time permits to take in a full length, it's undoubtedly Swoon to which I'll be returning.
MP3: Silversun Pickups - Growing Old is Getting Old
Taken from 'Swoon', out now
"maybe we're sealed in silence
maybe we feel a guidance
maybe your own devices
will keep you afraid and cold"
Now playing: Jarvis Cocker - Disney Time