Swoon, the latest release from Silversun Pickups, surges with musical authority – it's gritty, thick and emotional much of the time. Unfortunately, the vocals rarely match the musical vibe.
Tracks like "There's No Secret Here," with its Smashing Pumpkin-style high voltage guitar tones and quickly penetrating kick are rarely raised by the often lack-luster vocal performances. Interesting production techniques are pushed throughout, but don't reach their full effect until the angered background vocals emerge during the later parts of the track.
"The Royal We" displays a whirlwind of guitars and roaring violins, making it a full-fledged rocker, but suffocating digital-sounding vocals during the opening minute of the song could easily force listeners to the next track, if not to discard Swoon completely.
The vocal tone, performance and lyrics finally find themselves in the wacky "Sort Of," which feeds on a rambling, deadened drum beat, raunchy distorted guitars and giggling keys. The tones manage to tighten and loosen at just the right moments, persuading the ears and mind to re-visit the song.
Swoon is a dangerously safe album. It seems as if the Silversun Pickups are attempting to appeal to the widest audience, while abandoning their roots – the ones that gave them their killer late-to-post grunge sound. Vocal experimentation and character needs to match that of the instrumentation throughout Swoon.
Stay safe at silversunpickups.com.