May 08, 2012 - Dangerbird
This review originally ran in AP 287.
Silversun Pickups have become one of rock’s more surprising success stories in the past half-decade. The Los Angeles quartet have sold somewhere in the vicinity of a million records worldwide, all because a bunch of people thought they sounded kind of like the Smashing Pumpkins. (Yeah, just like how Interpol sounded like Joy Division and the Strokes copped Television’s moves.) Well, newsflash: On Neck Of The Woods, Silversun Pickups aren’t reliving the ghosts of alt-rock past. Instead, they’re helping define the genre’s future. “Here We Are (Chancer)” is a moody, drum-machine-assisted piece with Brian Aubert’s ghostly vocals sliding atop Nikki Monninger’s elastic bassline; “Make Believe” builds atop an arpeggiated riff and stutter-step drumming, exploding and receding with skill; and “The Pit” begins with a staccato rhythm straight off an LCD Soundsystem record before morphing into the kind of sinister electro-rock song you’d want soundtracking a James Bond movie. Woods is much darker and more nuanced than anything else in the Pickups’ catalog, and at 59 minutes, it’s also their longest album. While some songs could benefit from a slight edit (“Simmer,” “Skin Graph”), Woods still feels complete—and essential.