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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Pickups' Deliver A Mesmerizing Musical Experience With 'Swoon'
While many modern bands try to go retro and end up with sterile, insincere imitations of the 'real' thing, Silversun Pickups' traverse into 90's-tinged alternative rock (I admittedly can't help but think of The Smashing Pumpkins) is a totally different animal...the 'borrowing' of bits and pieces never comes across as shoddy...in fact, their second full-length album is one...
Published on April 14, 2009 by HuskerDog

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great.
I picked up Swoon after getting hooked on listening to Carnavas. Admittedly, I was hoping for more of same, and this album didn't live up to that expectation. It's true, the SSPU did a lot more with dynamics which give the album a more diverse sound palette. However, everything seemed a lot more clean and contrived.

"Substitution" seemed misplaced on the...
Published on April 29, 2009 by Aaron C Smith


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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Pickups' Deliver A Mesmerizing Musical Experience With 'Swoon', April 14, 2009
By 
HuskerDog (The Midwest, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Swoon (MP3 Music)
While many modern bands try to go retro and end up with sterile, insincere imitations of the 'real' thing, Silversun Pickups' traverse into 90's-tinged alternative rock (I admittedly can't help but think of The Smashing Pumpkins) is a totally different animal...the 'borrowing' of bits and pieces never comes across as shoddy...in fact, their second full-length album is one of the most 'original' works of somewhat mainstream rock I've heard in a while. The songs here are 'Indie'-sounding and melodic at the same time, and for me, music is nothing without memorable melodies.

But if you're expecting a collection of pop/rock 'commercial' songs on Swoon, then you may want to save some bucks and look elsewhere...I feel this album is best when taken in as a whole. While there are very good individual 'stand-outs' here (the super hi-intensity "There's No Secrets This Year" and "The Royal We", the hypnotic "Growing Old Is Getting Old", the catchy "It's Nice To Know You Work Alone", the beautifully melodic "Catch And Release"), Silversun Pickups create a mesmerizing atmosphere (albeit somewhat dark) that you can 'immerse' yourself into from beginning to end. Metaphorically speaking, this record is like hit-and-miss thunderstorms with periodic breaks in the clouds...the 'storms' being songs like the aforementioned opening tracks "There's No Secrets..." and "The Royal We", "Panic Switch", and "Surrounded(or Spiraling)"...and the 'breaks' being tracks like "Draining", "Substitution", and "Catch And Release"...where some of the distortion gets toned down in order to open up 'holes' where the songs can breathe and the vocals take center stage.

While Swoon generally maintains a mid-tempo nature, tempo changes are more common (both within songs and between them) this time around. For example, "There's No Secrets This Year", with those fantastic fuzzy guitars blazing away throughout most of the song, switches to a slower, ethereal, atmospheric ending minute, perfectly setting up the transition to "The Royal We", which starts out slow but quickly regains a driving tempo, and eventually soars to the rare occurrence of vocalist Brian Aubert extending his vocal range to its limit...the rest of the album mainly stays within his 'comfort zone' lower to middle registers range. On "Growing Old...", a clean bass guitar and kick drum groove serves as the foundation for light synths, delayed clean guitars, and cavernous vocals before eventually turning up the heat (and distortion) toward the end. And overall, the drum sounds here are generally 'small' sounding and not produced to be the focal point of the album's sound (plenty of loud cymbal crashes, however). The amazing intertwining of Joe Lester's keyboards and Aubert's guitars are what make this album stand out for me...the bass guitar work also drives many of the tunes in exceptional fashion.

Perhaps the album's only weakness is the moment or two when the multi-layered instrumentation and distortion leave little room for the mainly melancholy vocals to be fully intelligible, but that's a concession I can handle considering that the music of Silversun Pickups' sophomore album almost has me swooning. Grade: B+
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and more aggressive, Silversun Pickups return with another strong effort, April 14, 2009
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This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
Silversun Pickups first began receiving attention with their EP, Pikul, which was not that great, though it showed potential for a promising band, and they managed to improve in a huge way 1 year later, with the release of their first full length CD, Carnavas. Though the CD featured a couple fast and catchy singles, I was surprised by how different much of the CD was. Some songs were very slow and ambience took center-stage over "rock music," at times. Some of these songs felt at first a bit aimless to me, but over time I began to like the CD more and more. While it needed to grow on me, Carnavas eventually won me over.

Fast forward, and Silversun Pickups have released their 2nd full length CD with Swoon, and it takes their music in much more of a fast, rock-oriented direction. A bit more like their singles from Carnavas. Songs here alternate between loud and aggressive and very soft and soothing, (with Substitution landing somewhere in the middle,) but fans don't need to worry, the band's traditionally spacey presentation and trippy sound effects remain.

The faster songs take the faster stuff from Carnavas and pretty much crank them up to 10. The Royal We is an epic song, one that goes in so many unpredictable directions and manages to pack the most punch of any on the CD. Panic Switch is another great heavy one.

There are a couple weak points, though. There's No Secrets This Year is just okay as a CD opener (though better than Melatonin from last CD) and Sort Of and It's Nice To Know You Work Alone are just meh. Hard for me to really get into them. Surrounded (Or Spiraling) kind of falls in the middle for me. Lyrics, like with the band's previous CD's, are sometimes laughably random, though they're a bit more noticeable here due to the singing's increased emphasis. Speaking of vocals, Brian Aubert delivers his best work yet, and Nikki Monninger's voice (the bass player/2nd singer) is this time around pretty much used just for backing vocals, though her bass is as ever-present as in the past.

While I think it could have used 1 or 2 additional tracks, this is still a really good CD. The tone's pretty amazing. Swoon seems to exist in a drugged out version of LA, (or in someone's increasingly desperate mind,) with a very dark sound to it, at least that's how I took it. Even in seemingly affectionate and loving songs like Catch and Release, you can hear dark undercurrents to the music. While it sounds like a passionate declaration of love, at the same time, the background music seems to suggest that it's happening in some seedy hotel in a bad neighborhood. It's all up to your imagination, which is a pretty cool thing about both this CD and Carnavas.

Due to the more focused and fast-paced sound overall, Swoon doesn't feel like quite as much of an "adventure" as Carnavas and there's not quite as much variety, but it's still an incredible CD. The rock sound suits the band very well and I can't stress how amazing The Royal We is, especially on great speakers at high volume. If you listen to this CD and really let the music wash over you, you might really like where it takes you.

Fans of the band are really going to like this, and even on songs that I personally didn't like, there were moments where I'd just be amazed by what was going on in them. (The first song, which I hated, has a really cool final minute, which I sort of wish was instead placed at the start of the 2nd song, since it leads to it perfectly.) This is a talented band and I hope they never lose this sound.

Excellent Songs;
*The Royal We (an amazing song, this CD's "Checkered Floor." But cranked up to 10.)

Great Songs;
*Panic Switch (fast, chaotic, and very trippy.)
*Substitution (something very different for them; sunny and bright, almost punk-rock in nature. Very cool.)
*Draining (Reminds me a bit of Pikul, though much catchier and more focused.)

Good songs;
*Catch and Release (Sentimental chorus a glimpse of sunlight in an otherwise very dark song. Interesting.)
*Growing Old is Getting Old (slow and mysterious, builds up to a very cool ending.)

Okay songs;
*Sort Of (Lyrics pretty terrible, and like Waste it On from the last CD, seems sorta like it could be 'better.')
*Surrounded (or Spiraling) (The "our little hell" line pretty much made the song for me. Otherwise, meh.)
*It's Nice to Know You Work Alone (Not a huge fan, though this one might grow on me like Rusted Wheel did)
*There's No Secrets This Year (Not as bad as Carnavas's opener but still not a fan. Bad lyrics, too. Though it's already growing on me, somehow.)

Bad songs;
I guess none.

However, what IS bad; No CD booklet. Come on, guys, reward people who purchase your CD's. Disappointing.

But on that note, this CD's quality-wise about even with Carnavas, (a bit better,) and that's exactly what I was hoping for. I can't wait to see what this band has in store next for us.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly beautiful, April 17, 2009
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
I had heard Lazy Eye several times and for some reason never picked up the album. But recently I saw the new album was coming out and I decided to pick this one up. It's been a good while since I got goosebumps listening to an album, but this one did it. This is the best purchase I have made in a long time. It's so beautiful! The vocals are amazing. Every song has a different vibe, but they all work on the same disc. I've read the smashing pumpkins comparisons, but on this album I don't see it much. Carnavas definitely has the more stripped down production and I see the references to smashing pumpkins, but only in relation to Gish. SSPU's sound is really an almagamation of so many sounds, yet they remain their own. I hear Pond, Sunny Day, Gish-era pumpkins, and Mew in the mix. I'm sure others will have their own correlations, too. Just an amazing band! So glad I looked closer at them. Of course, I had to get Carnavas just a few hours after I got this one. One listen and I knew this was going to be a favorite for a long time to come. Do not miss out! There is a huge leap in song-writing and production on this album compared to Carnavas, but that is not to say that Carnavas is not excellent in its own right.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Pickups' Deliver A Mesmerizing Musical Experience On 'Swoon', April 14, 2009
By 
HuskerDog (The Midwest, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
While many modern bands try to go retro and end up with sterile, insincere imitations of the 'real' thing, Silversun Pickups' traverse into 90's-tinged alternative rock (I admittedly can't help but think of The Smashing Pumpkins) is a totally different animal...the 'borrowing' of bits and pieces never comes across as shoddy...in fact, their second full-length album is one of the most 'original' works of somewhat mainstream rock I've heard in a while. The songs here are 'Indie'-sounding and melodic at the same time, and for me, music is nothing without memorable melodies.

But if you're expecting a collection of pop/rock 'commercial' songs on Swoon, then you may want to save some bucks and look elsewhere...I feel this album is best when taken in as a whole. While there are very good individual 'stand-outs' here (the super hi-intensity "There's No Secrets This Year" and "The Royal We", the hypnotic "Growing Old Is Getting Old", the catchy "It's Nice To Know You Work Alone", the beautifully melodic "Catch And Release"), Silversun Pickups create a mesmerizing atmosphere (albeit somewhat dark) that you can 'immerse' yourself into from beginning to end. Metaphorically speaking, this record is like hit-and-miss thunderstorms with periodic breaks in the clouds...the 'storms' being songs like the aforementioned opening tracks "There's No Secrets..." and "The Royal We", "Panic Switch", and "Surrounded(or Spiraling)"...and the 'breaks' being tracks like "Draining", "Substitution", and "Catch And Release"...where some of the distortion gets toned down in order to open up 'holes' where the songs can breathe and the vocals take center stage.

While Swoon generally maintains a mid-tempo nature, tempo changes are more common (both within songs and between them) this time around. For example, "There's No Secrets This Year", with those fantastic fuzzy guitars blazing away throughout most of the song, switches to a slower, ethereal, atmospheric ending minute, perfectly setting up the transition to "The Royal We", which starts out slow but quickly regains a driving tempo, and eventually soars to the rare occurrence of vocalist Brian Aubert extending his vocal range to its limit...the rest of the album mainly stays within his 'comfort zone' lower to middle registers range. On "Growing Old...", a clean bass guitar and kick drum groove serves as the foundation for light synths, delayed clean guitars, and cavernous vocals before eventually turning up the heat (and distortion) toward the end. And overall, the drum sounds here are generally 'small' sounding and not produced to be the focal point of the album's sound (plenty of loud cymbal crashes, however). The amazing intertwining of Joe Lester's keyboards and Aubert's guitars are what make this album stand out for me...the bass guitar work also drives many of the tunes in exceptional fashion.

Perhaps the album's only weakness is the moment or two when the multi-layered instrumentation and distortion leave little room for the mainly melancholy vocals to be fully intelligible, but that's a concession I can handle considering that the music of Silversun Pickups' sophomore album almost has me swooning. Grade: B+
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favorite rock album of 2009, and it's not close., December 11, 2009
By 
D. Corson (Cedar Park, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
I don't write many reviews, but I'm making an exception for this disc. This is a brilliant piece of music, wildly original for my ear (even as it borrows from other sources) and great fun to listen to. I find this CD stands up much better to repeated listening than their previous disc (Carnavas), which I'm also a fan of. I love bands that can pull off quiet songs or quiet interludes in a song and then bust it all up and rock out, and SSPU do that with great effect on this disc. The arrangements and hooks are just really appealing to me, and I love the singer's voice. I think the Smashing Pumpkins comparisons are somewhat appropriate (even more so on Carnavas), but I'll tell you what - I love this disc much more than I've ever loved a Pumpkins' release. It's got a little bit of everything for me: Panic Switch and The Royal We are wild, loud rides, while Growing Old Is Getting Old, It's Nice to Know You Work Alone, and Draining are slower, trippy (or groovy), and laid back. It all works. Listen to the samples here on Amazon, they're very representative. If you like them, get out your wallet and try this. If you're a fan of this type of alternative rock, I don't think you'll be disappointed. While you're at it, check out Catherine Wheel too. Their releases Ferment, Chrome, and Adam and Eve are all highly recommended by this reviewer, and reminiscent of the Pickups in some ways. Having said that, SSPU is definitely their own animal, and one with some very interesting stripes. I hope they continue on this trajectory with their next release.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album from a great band, April 18, 2009
This review is from: Swoon (MP3 Music)
First let me say that I love Carnavas, so I had some high expectations for Swoon. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this album, but I can honestly say that this is probably the best new record that I've heard in years. The band retains a similar style to Carnavas, but Swoon is a little darker and a little bit heavier. Each of the songs has a really nice progression to it and ends, more or less, differently from how it started. There are a couple standout tracks, but the whole album has a great overall flow to it so it never feels boring or repetitive. I liked it the first time I heard it, but every time I listen to it it just gets better and better. Basically, if you like the band then you can't go wrong with this album, and if you've never heard them then you owe it to yourself to give them a listen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just heard Panic Switch on kcrw and...., June 22, 2011
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This review is from: Swoon (MP3 Music)
...had to come here immediately and review. First thought that comes to mind: These kids are SERIOUS about good music. Kind of an obvious thing but, sadly, is really rare these days. The frenzy and energy of it...just superb. So much of music now is phoned in. This decidedly is not. The work that went into the construction and balance and sheer beauty of this one song leaves you full yet still hungering for more. Definitely a buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SP has done it again (& no, that's not for Smashing Pumpkins), November 23, 2009
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
Swoon is a great album. As good as, if not better than Carnavas. Well written, well played, and well mixed/mastered. A fine sophomore outing for the Pickups. I would definitely put it on the top 10 rock/alternative albums of 2009 list. Favorite tracks: "Growing Old is Getting Old" "Panic Switch" "Draining" and "Catch and Release." Pick up the Pickups!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album!, May 18, 2009
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
The Silversun Pickups do it again! If you liked the music on the CD Carnavas, you will surely love the music on the CD Swoon. Now in my opinion this CD seems to be a bit slower paced; but none of the songs disappoint. Their music still carries heft and fuzz along with great original lyrics. If you have ever liked the Smashing Pumpkins, or you just heard a few of their songs, you should give the Silversun Pickups a chance to play.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the best albums of 2009, May 7, 2009
By 
KC "kc" (middle earth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Swoon (MP3 Music)
I have not stopped playing this CD several times a day since its release a month ago. This is as good as Carnavas, but over time, I suspect will surpass the latter. Whew, I can't get enough of SSPU.
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Swoon
Swoon by Silversun Pickups (Audio CD - 2009)
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