L.A noise-mongers Silversun Pickups are getting very popular. Maybe it's because they sound like other very popular bands that aren't around anymore. This record, if not an homage, scoops the flesh from the Smashing Pumpkins' head and puts a candle inside: Singer/guitarist Brian Aubert pitches it between Billy Corgan and the other great angst warbler, Brian Molko and sometimes, really means it.
It's an O.K album of 11 songs with good titles. The noise is great, Aubert getting sounds from his guitar like some massive nuclear bumble bee crashing into a pylon, and the keyboard laying down some Jeff Wayne style textures. Lyrically though, the record is a screaming wheel of fortune clicking its way through totally meaningless: 'What was that scar situated from afar/ What was that light integrated in your mind' (''Well Thought Out Twinkles''), to prog-folk: 'As her wooden bones grew through her skin / Crumbled naturally' from ''Dream At Tempo 119''.
One of the things about music and lyrics being aimless and vague is that you can project whatever you want onto them. And as long as there are lost, heartbroken youth, there will always be an audience for this kind of music, elusive but accessible, loud and layered. SSPU have nearly cracked it but not quite. While ''Little Lover's So Polite'' is well constructed, ''Checkered Floor'' is a bad song about a floor. Hmm... ''Future Foe Scenario'' sees Aubert get agitated and it's good to hear him have a bit of a scream but it's ordinary until the last verse where things get a bit more interesting; the guitar really burning and the emotional core wriggling out from under those oblique sentiments. Even if it is derivative in style and content I have to say that that boy gets some elephantine tones out of his rig and they might well be onto something.
And they're here now, in this country until the beginning of June. So if you do go to see them remember to watch the stage and not your shoes because, apparently, they're very good. --Greg McLaren
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