Silversun Pickups

Pikul

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AllMusic Review by

While nowhere near as immediate as their 2006 grunge-pop opus Carnavas, this EP from 2005, enigmatically named for and dedicated to a friend of the band's (and pronounced "pie-kull"), shows Silversun Pickups developing their Smashing Pumpkins worship into a formula all their own. The difference is in the subtlety and restraint of their arrangements; whereas Billy Corgan has trademarked his whisper-to-a-scream dynamics, the Pickups keep the buildups fluid and the crescendos controlled. Oftentimes the listener may find themselves wishing for more explosive release, but things are kept discreet here; after all, it's easier to effectively follow the quiet-loud-quiet tactics of the Pixies or Nirvana, much more tricky to keep things understated yet filled with tension. Only on the leadoff track "Kissing Families" does lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert seethe with barely contained rage, "Everything is connected and beautiful, and now I know just where I stand," a realization that doesn't seem to please him. Or on "The Fuzz" where the guitars build to a multi-tracked yet muted climax we still aren't given the payoff we might have expected. This could be attributed to a desire to keep things radio-friendly or in a pop format, perhaps at the advice of a producer, or it could just be the band's entire modus operandi. Another complaint could be leveled at the Pickups' over-reliance on root-chord eighth-note downbeat strums indicative of bedroom compositions originally aimed for the coffeehouse open mic circuit, but that factor is minor, and while it undermines any overt intensity it adds to the subtle subversiveness of the arrangements. Most seductive is a Moe Tucker-esque turn on vocals by bassist/backup vocalist Nikki Monninger on "Creation Lake"; the simplicity of this song with its childlike keening belies its complicity in the overall disenchantment and ennui that seems to be the theme of this collection. "...All the Go Inbetweens" and an unnamed "hidden" track continue the wistful yet urgent feeling and bring the collection of a mere six songs to a close that feels like a complete album. A great beginning is documented here, and one can see the maturation on their subsequent full-length. One would only hope that the band can continue to find its own distinctive voice.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:50 SpotifyAmazon
2 4:10 SpotifyAmazon
3 4:26 SpotifyAmazon
4 5:54 SpotifyAmazon
5
3:43 SpotifyAmazon
6 7:49 SpotifyAmazon
7 0:44
8 0:44
9 0:44
10 0:44
11 0:44
12 0:44
13 0:44
14 0:44
15 0:44
16 0:44
17 0:44
18 0:44
19 0:43
20 0:45
21 0:45
22 0:44
23 5:00
blue highlight denotes track pick