Billy Corgan has been dragging his feet on the proposed Smashing Pumpkins reunion. So, instead of waiting, some fans in Los Angeles got on the ball and put out a new Pumpkins’ record themselves. Having gotten that off my chest, let’s just soldier on past that comparison, because it’s been beaten into the ground.
What Silversun Pickups have accomplished on their debut full-length –and definite breakthrough– album is the best example of how to be inspired by the grunge era without obsessing over the details. The guitars are fuzz-filled, calling to mind not only Pumpkins but Monster-era R.E.M. (which has always been a highly underrated R.E.M. release, and I will defend its validity in their discography till my dying day!), but you can also hear some Lush and Radiohead. If you want to reach even further back, you’ll hear some My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain in the mix as well. They didn’t just throw on some flannel and copy Nirvana riffs. They absorbed the sleepless nights and acid/pot haze of the mid-1990s and have recreated it for a new generation.
Vocalist Brian Aubert has that sad little angry boy tone in his voice that teeters between a pretty croon and a gritty growl, just like Corgan, and his guitar attacks hint at plenty of spins of old Hendrix records. Time, and future releases, will tell if this is the beginning of a cult favorite or an egocentric virtuoso who will turn his back on his bandmates and go on to release a shitty solo record only to eventually crawl back to his old friends and beg for a reunion tour.
I’m very excited about this band, so I’m hoping for the former.
Key songs for those without the attention span for a full-length album: “Lazy Eye,” “Well Thought Out Twinkies” and “Future Foe Scenarios.”
Silversun Pickups: www.silversunpickups.com