Silversun Pickups – Swoon

swoonArtist: Silversun Pickups
Album: Swoon
Genre: Indie
Label: Dangerbird

In April of this year, the Silversun Pickups quietly released their sophormore effort, Swoon; however, despite the quiet release, their song ‘Panic Switch’ has been taking over alternative radio, MTV2, and collegiate iPods all over. This, quite possibly, sums up the album best; it’s an album of opposites, highs and lows, silence and explosions of sound.

The album begins with ‘There’s No Secrets This Year’, selected as the second single for the album, and it’s obvious why. One of the poppiest tracks on the album, it gets stuck in your head on the first listen. The track highlights every member, with slick guitars, striking bass, simple yet driving drums, and bright keys. The end of the track features a lead-in to the strongest track on the album, ‘The Royal We’. The song feels like a battle cry, with vocalist/guitarist Brian Auburt’s vocals painting a picture of a ‘siege’ with lyrics such as ‘we are ready for the siege/ and we are armed to the teeth’. Accompanying string arrangements really bring the song together, giving it an epic feel. The song, however, really shines in its climax, with Auburt’s vocals reaching an intensity not found anywhere else on the album. His voice in the finale sounds reminiscent of 80’s-era Michael Jackson, which odd as it sounds, is amazing on the track.

The next pair of tracks, ‘Growing Old Is Getting Old’ and ‘It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone’, show the only obvious flaw that the album has. A majority of the tracks are strong, bright anthems, but a few of the tracks, such as the aforementioned pair and ‘Draining’ literally ‘drain’ the energy that the other songs build up. This is not to say that any of these songs are bad songs, because they aren’t. They are very good songs, and ‘Growing Old Is Getting Old’ in particular is a very catchy tune with a slick bass line and a strong ending that the rest of the song builds up to perfectly.

‘Panic Switch’, the lead single from the album, is a great track that really highlights the entire band, especially Nikki Monninger, as her bass lines and back up vocals truly stand out. Clocking in at almost 6 minutes, the song still manages to fly by and scream for another play. When I heard this song on MTV2, it convinced me to go out and buy the album without hearing another track first. ‘Sort Of’ is a good, yet mildly forgettable track, but ‘Substitution’ more than makes up for it, beginning with a guitar riff that sounds like the 90’s-alternative sound that seems to have influenced the band heavily and a light but catchy chorus. ‘Catch & Release’ is dark and brooding, as is the album closer ‘Surrounded (Or Spiraling)’ but neither really drag the album down, due to their placement. Most songs on this album are almost five minutes long, so by the time you’ve reached the final two songs, after 40 minutes of listening, a break and slow-down is welcome.

The Silversun Pickups have cemented their place in indie-rock history with this release, proving that 2006’s Carnavas wasn’t a fluke, and that they will be around for some time to come. This album, while not flawless, is still one of the best releases of the year. It is highly enjoyable and worth the purchase. Popular music is flooded with cookie-cutter bands who all sound essentially the same, but the Silversun Pickups have somehow snuck in there. Show them some support and buy the album. You even get a bonus track if you buy it off iTunes. That’s almost 55 minutes of great music for $9.99, definitely worth the price to support a band that made an album as good as this.

Score: 8.5/10

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James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Thanks again for the blog.Really thank you! Much obliged.