4 out of 5 stars
Every so often, a new band comes along seemingly out of nowhere and just blows your mind. Silversun Pickups is the latest in that line of bands that has impressed me.
I read one review that said that the Pickups’ album, “Carnavas,” was the best record the Smashing Pumpkins never made. In a way that’s true, but the two bands differ on several levels.
The biggest of these differences is that the Pickups never venture into territory nearly as dark as where the Smashing Pumpkins spent most of their careers.
That argument aside, the band creates strikingly urgent, yet innate songs featuring layers of hazy fuzzed out guitars and male/female vocal interplay that produces a veritable wall of sound, though not like the one that Phil Spector revolutionized in the 1960s. Combine this shimmering guitar sound with a driving rhythm section and the final product is, simply put, a damn catchy record.
Where other purveyors of hazy guitar rock fail, this band succeeds in attracting listeners who may not be drawn to this style of music.
Listen to it and I’m sure you’ll see just what I mean.
Key Tracks: “Well Thought Out Twinkles,” “Common Reactor,” “Future Foe Scenarios”
“Put Your Ghost To Rest”
3.5 out of 5 stars
According to my good friend and occasional lackey James Queally, Kevin Devine is fairly big on the strange and bizarre planet otherwise known as Staten Island.
And why shouldn’t he be? The emo-indie style of his previous solo material, as well as his old band Miracle of 86 has helped endear the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter to many youngsters in and around New York City.
He’s now signed to a major label (Capitol, EMI) which surprised me at first, knowing the current feelings within the record industry. Clearly, Devine has the talent to back up such an investment.
Unlike some of today’s terribly inane popular songs, Devine’s lyrics are chock full of heartfelt emotion, questioning cynicism and a little bit of political protest.
These themes are placed over an album primarily built around acoustic guitar-based indie-rock/pop. Granted this combination doesn’t work all the time, but rarely do even the best and most talented artists create the perfect song every time.
This album is merely a collection of very good songs that bring together quality songwriting and musicianship that will certainly please many listeners out there, as it did me. And there is certainly no shame in that.
Key Tracks: “Go Haunt Someone Else,” “You’re Trailing Yourself,” “Just Stay”