Silversun Pickups - Their Better Nature - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Silversun Pickups - Their Better Nature

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2015-09-25

Three years can be a long time and for Silversun Pickups its included marriage, children, collaborations and much more. For a band that subtly changes it up on every album, you would expect that their fourth effort would show the signs of these changes and Better Nature does this. 

On Pikul (their first EP) and Caravans they used feedback and fuzz . The follow up, Swoon, used strings and noise and banged around like a heavy rock elephant delivering huge anthems and stadium pleasing moments. TV Sports shows rejoiced. 

Neck of the Woods welcomed Jacknife Lee as producer (who returns here), retreated slightly from the noise and employed keyboards where there were strings. Their fourth album leans towards the indie side of rock more than their previous efforts, choosing again to use keyboards instead of the strings of Swoon and to create melody and noise but place far more emphasis on the former.  For a band that has set it stall out by producing adrenalin rush, loud numbers such as Panic Switch, The Royal We, Lazy Eye and Bloody Mary this feels like a step back.  However, on repeated listens it feels like another leap of maturity forward as songs like Ragamuffin, Connection and Friendly Fires grab hold.  Of course this isn’t to say that this is a restrained album.  The highs of closing number The Wild Kind and opener  Cradle (Better Nature) will sit happily alongside any of the previous efforts in a setlist.  Nightlight, the lead single, is a more focused anthem than previous lead singles and as such this more nuanced rock sound leaves an imprint somewhat different to other anthemic tracks they have delivered.  It also develops into a full blown stadium number that will have all the people at the back happily getting involved when the hand clapping starts and they chant ‘we want it’ in a call and response.  Note to band…tour Europe sometime soon it’s been five years after all.  Perhaps the most epic moment on the album is actually on Tapedeck which uses its six minutes to build, slow down and build again.  The band swings for the fences here and instead of employing guitars and noise the melody and shifts in pace are what delivers the thrills.  That is true of the entire album, melody over noise and it works.

In recent years it has been vogue of reviewers to knock SSPU’s and try and draw the obvious comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins.  This album shows keenly the difference in the two.  Whilst Corgan decided to use his band to stroke his own ego this is a much tauter and more effective album than Adore or any later Pumpkins albums ever were.


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