Silversun Pickups


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Silversun Pickups hold Smashing Pumpkins as close to their heart as, say, Mudhoney hold the Stooges -- perhaps even more, as Silversun Pickups (whose very initials are the same as the Pumpkins') don't attempt synthesis or reimagination, they merely seek continuance, acting as though nothing happened between Siamese Dream in 1993 and Swoon in 2009. Try as they may, the bandmembers cannot deny the passage of time, or their geography, for Silversun Pickups are creatures of their time and place, just as their idols were. At their core, the Pumpkins were Midwestern misfits, something that was evident in their very appearance and sound, something that could be heard in Jimmy Chamberlin's thundering backbeat, the skyscraping guitars of Billy Corgan and James Iha, and, especially, Corgan's outcast wail, producing a sound that found beauty in ugliness and vice-versa. In stark contrast, Silversun Pickups are nothing but pretty, shimmering sweetly on the surface, a sound suited for Los Angeles. Silversun Pickups avoid unpleasantness to such a great extent on Swoon that they rarely shift tempos or dynamics. They merely wallow in washes of sound, deriving equally from guitars and whispered vocals, never pushing forward, never achieving any sense of momentum, just glimmering in the sunlight. It's pleasant enough, particularly when the breathy vocals fade away to leave behind cascades of guitars, but even at its best, it's nothing more than an approximation of Smashing Pumpkins at their peak, with all the interesting parts stripped away.

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