CD review: Silversun Pickups newest album a high point in its catalog | SummitDaily.com

CD review: Silversun Pickups newest album a high point in its catalog

Alan Sculley
Special to the Daily

Silversun Pickups: "Better Nature" (New Machine Recordings)

Three years after their previous album, "Neck of the Woods," and now recording on their own label, Silversun Pickups come back strong on "Better Nature." The group's trademark sound, shimmery, edgy rock built around a tasty mix of guitars and synthetic sounds returns intact. And the song writing is tighter and more impactful than ever, as "Better Nature" features some of the group's strongest material. "Connection" and "Nightlight" burst out with its big, brief and soaring choruses, "Pins and Needles" mixes punchy riffs and rhythms with the sleeker and prettier tones that surround its vocals. "Tapedeck" has a nice spastic feel with its jerky rhythms, which give way to the song's more cinematic segments and finally a huge finish, making this the album's most unique song. "Better Nature" ends on an especially fevered note as "The Wild Kind" builds in intensity over its six-minutes-plus span. A couple of sparkly ballads, "Friendly Fires" and "Ragamuffin," break up the pace between what is an otherwise consistently up-tempo, propulsive and hook-filled album that stands as a new high point in Silversun Pickups' four-album catalog.

Rating: 4 stars

File next to: Smashing Pumpkins, Alpha Rev

The Lonely Wild: "Chasing White Light" (EOne)

The five members of the Lonely Wild may seem too young to worry that much about death, but with "Chasing White Light," that's the subject of many of the songs. Fortunately, the main theme doesn't make for maudlin and mournful music. Instead, "Chasing White Light" is full of vibrant songs that find the group embracing a wider range of sounds and styles. The opening track, "Snow," opens with a little spaghetti western feel and grows into a swirling anthem. "Hunted" mixes its folk-ish textures with punk urgency and startles and thrills when singer Andrew Carroll lets his voice soar on the word "Hunted." Some harpsichord gives "Scar" a baroque accent to go with its rolling pop sound. "Running" becomes an epic centerpiece, growing in scope and strength as strings, a driving beat and the vocals of Carroll and Jessi Williams fill in around the silky acoustic guitar strums and ambient tones that open the song. The rest of "Chasing White Light" ranges from the stark, hymn-like balladry of "Blunt The Blade" to the soaring beauty of the title song. Produced with imagination and care by John Vanderslice, "Chasing White Light" is one of the year's richest, most engaging and accomplished pop/rock works, an album that aims for the drama of the likes of Coldplay or U2 — and frequently reaches that standard.

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Rating: 4 stars

File next to: Coldplay, the Dears