Andrew Alba: Top Ten Albums of 2009 (number: 5)
Nic Harcourt’s Top 10 of 2009 (number: 5)
en: Swoon (Silversun Pickups album) [info]
Silversun Pickups present homage and individualism on their second album, Swoon, a delicious and surprisingly commercial mix.
Here, the Pickups have gone for a 10-strong set of five minute plus tracks that never once descend into the doldrums of filler or repetition. No mean feat for a band who revel in shoegazing, a genre which has been known to drag on a bit in its time.
While Swoon is distinctly an amalgam of its creators' imaginations and that of their own musical favourites (Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine), there is no laziness here. Where some are happy to base a song on a single hook, this four-piece throw three or four great ideas at each pristine track and come up with something rich and captivating.
At almost six minutes, single Panic Switch is proof that long doesn't have to mean tedious; its mix of paces, frantic drums and howling guitar is rounded by a compelling chorus. Others, including Sort Of and Catch and Release end completely differently to how they began - the latter bringing the strings of the album's 16-piece orchestra to the fore. Growing Old Is Getting Old builds from Chris Guanlao's gentle drums to a climatic and distorted wall of sound, and while mournful, never seems indulgent.
While Brian Aubert often sounds like a typical Californian singer, there are enough traces of his Silver Lake origins running through his vocals to stop them sounding clichéd. It's a credit to Silversun Pickups for proving that forays into lengthier material can be well done. Swoon is both traditional and testing, and laden with rewards for listener time invested.