Review of Silversun Pickups album Swoon.
Following on from the success of debut album Carnavas, Swoon is the second album from Los Angeles indie rockers Silversun Pickups. Consisting of raging guitar lines, pounding drums, sweet orchestration and youthful vocals, this latest effort sure sounds like it has bags of potential. Unfortunately, closer inspection reveals many flaws.
Firstly, practically all of the arrangements seem needlessly overdrawn. Not one of the ten songs is shorter than four and a half minutes and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that most of the songs would have benefited from a few edits here and there. The production also leaves a lot to be desired - the multi-layered arrangements often find themselves fighting for space in the mix and the engineer has certainly made hard work of keeping the massive waves of distortion under control.
On a positive note, there is a great sense of energy throughout and some of the melodies and (occasional) lyrical hooks are quite enjoyable. Strangely, the first three songs on the album are arguably the strongest on offer (even if they are weighed down by the nagging errors). From the waves of melodic guitar distortion in opener 'There's No Secrets This Year' to the massively epic 'The Royal We' and the beautifully atmospheric 'Growing Old Is Getting Old', maybe the Silversun Pickups do have something to shout about after all.
In the end, Swoon is a difficult album to divulge in one sitting. There is no shying away from the fact that the positives are offset by a long list of blunders. You can't help but feel that a little more quality control (and the work of a decent engineer) would have gone a very long way.