Review ·

Take a moment to consider this band's name and the fact that its members are from Los Angeles, and try to conjure up in your mind what its music might sound like. The name invokes old Fords winding up the dusty roads of the canyons at dusk. And the dominant sound of LaLaLand has always been light and bright (it's the sunshine, dummy), from the Beach Boys to the country-tinged folk scene of the '70s to today's industry-churned-out American Idol pop.


So with that name and home base, it'd be logical for you to think Silversun Pickups might sound like Beachwood Sparks or Rooney. But you'd be way off. Silversun Pickups trade in a dark, industrial, gothy sound completely out of place in the land of beaches and Beverly Hills.


After a handful of listens to an album, I'm usually ready to review it -- knowledgeable of highlights, lowlights, and aspects I might want to mention. But I kept listening and listening to Carnavas without being able to get a grasp on it. It's all just one big soup of big guitars, bad songwriting, and cheezy, lasery electro-effects.


At first it seems like that mix might work. "Melatonin" brings a big wall of sound glow. Maybe the band members are onto something: an updating of Phil Spector-esque bombast for our digital age. But when every song that follows doesn't do much different, the Pickups start looking like one-trick ponies. "Well Thought out Twinkles" is aggro, bad-era Smashing Pumpkins (read: Adore). Lead singer Brian Aubert seems to have the same type of aimless anger that plagues Billy Corgan. Sample lyric: "I've been waiting for this silence all night long." Whatever, Azrael Abyss.


The other Pickups may want to think about dropping this guy. Nikki Monninger's ascending bass line is the most technically talented feature of "Waste It On," and she adds pretty backing vocals to "Little Lover's So Polite" and "Dream at Tempo 119." And Joe Lester's keyboards make "Rusted Wheel" sound like Eno playing on and producing an early Echo and the Bunnymen track.


Or maybe the Pickups might want to move to Cleveland. There's a reason Trent Reznor's ugly mope machine rolled out of Cleveland. (It's Cleveland, dummy.) Albums like Carnavas just seem out of place in SoCal, the happiest place on earth.


Discuss this review at The Prefix Message Board 



Streaming audio:

  • Melatonin
  • Well Thought Out Twinkles
  • Checkered Floor
  • Little Lover's So Polite
  • Future Foe Scenarios
  • Waste It On
  • Lazy Eye
  • Rusted Wheel
  • Dream At Tempo 119
  • Three Seed
  • Common Reactor
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles The Ark State of the Ark

Rubbish review...whats the point in slating an album because it sounds 'out of place' in the bands hometown. Pretty retarded philosophy! Oceansize are an awesome band but they don't sound like they're from Manchester (UK) so they therefore suck? NO!
Oh by the way the album IS good!


reviewer, this is honestly a terrible review. i like this album while recognizing its flaws; i've read some excellent reviews arguing for both its merit and its failings. however you have absolutely no justification for anything you've said. hometown and band name should have verry little to no influence on your opinion of the music, and all you seem to do is insult other bands of the same style to validate your point. i think you have a deep dislike for any band with a sound other than "light and bright" like your beach boys or sacred american idol, and you're grasping at straws trying to put down an excellent emerging band because you really can't find anything wrong with it.


Find us on Facebook

Latest Comments