Silversun Pickups – Carnavas

Having recently compiled my list for my favorite albums of 2006, I couldn’t help feeling generally down about my musical prospects. I’m really tired of a lot of the music I hear these days and often find myself dipping into my older collections for a rest. Then, one fateful day, while I was driving with my husband in Seattle we heard what we thought for sure must’ve been a long lost song from the 90’s but in fact turned out to be something new. “Lazy Eye” had us running for the nearest record store in search of what we hoped was not just a freak song but rather an album full of music similar in style. We were pleasantly surprised.

Silversun Pickups are a quartet that have been touring their hometown of Los Angeles for a few years before releasing their first studio effort Pikul in 2005 followed by Carnavas a year later. With tours in 2006 and 2007 opening for acts like Wolfmother and Snow Patrol, you can imagine that they likely fit somewhere in the indie pop rock genre with a good dose of layered electric guitars, rhythmic drums and nicely harmonized vocals.

The album opens with “Melatonin” an easy target for a radio release, if it hasn’t already been snatched. With driving guitars and an energetic rhythm leading the way, this song will likely have anyone hooked the instant the male/female vocals enter the scene. The harmonies are tight and the music is solid with many immediately obvious influences from great artists of the previous decade. The Silversun Pickups are exactly what today’s music has been lacking.

One of the most interesting and intriguing qualities of this band is that the lead singer is not Nikki Monningher, who actually plays the bass, but rather a male by the name of Brian Aubert. While Monningher does lend her voice to the songs from time to time, it’s almost hard to believe that for the majority of the time the voice hovering over those guitars is actually that of a male. Especially in “Future Foe Scenarious,” where Aubert’s faux female croon sounds somewhat similar to that of Shirley Mason. It’s actually quite an impressive feat that he can pull it off so well and also achieve such an amazing scream, heard in many songs throughout the album.

In addition to “Lazy Eye” which is already burning up the radio with some of the best guitar hooks on the album, and the opening track “Melatonin”, “Little Lovers So Polite” should be added to the list of songs that are fit for the radio. In fact, there isn’t a single song on this album that I don’t enjoy to some degree but similar to a Smashing Pumpkins album, some tracks are more easily-accessible than others.

I would image those readers out there that are not already fans of groups like The Smashing Pumpkins or My Bloody Valentine may not be as enthusiastic as this writer but for those of you like me that are bored of today’s music, maybe a dip into the 90’s is just what you need to pick up your spirits.