Silversun Pickups Pikul EP

[Dangerbird; 2005]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: alternative rock
Others: Earlimart, Autolux

This EP is a serious anachronism. It sounds no less than ten years old. I don't know what exactly about it makes it seem so dated, but as soon as it starts I'm taken back to some alternative radio station from the mid-'90s. Even the cover art recalls the era. The sound is heavy and grungy, with plenty of distortion and feedback. The lyrics and delivery are sneering and acerbic (sometimes gratingly so), and the mood alternates between energetic garage-rock and a kind of soaring, shoegazey grace. At times mathy, at times abstract... but I can find almost nothing interesting about it. Part of the problem, I suppose, is that it appears a little forced, in spite of the band's obvious technical proficiency. Plus, the best moments on the album are the most cliché, with well-worn, if not downright predictable, chord changes and crescendos, rendering Silversun Pickups almost anonymous. Any time they're doing something they could call their own, it just doesn't work, alternately hollow and incoherent. I'm not even sure what it would sound like if it did work. But they're not a lost cause. Their talent and their obvious literacy in relatively recent rock tradition are promising, but they'll practically have to reinvent themselves to achieve anything noteworthy. Let's hope they spend another EP or two figuring themselves out.

A different lead vocalist couldn't hurt either. Just saying.

1. Kissing Families
2. Comeback Kid
3. Booksmart Devil
4. The Fuzz
5. Creation Lake
6. ...All the Go Inbetweens
23. (untitled hidden track)