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CD of The Week

Week of 6/10/19

    Silversun Pickups - Widow's Weeds (New Machine)

    For almost 15 years, L.A. rockers Silversun Pickups have been melding guitar rock riffing with atmospheric soundscapes to create their own world. On their first record in nearly four years, Brian Aubert, Nikki Monninger, Joe Lester and Christopher Guanlao give the fans more of what they want, but with a few special sonic touches and a big-time assist in the studio.

    That would be super-producer/Garbage drummer Butch Vig, who of course produced Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, an obvious touchstone for the SSPU sound.

    Widow's Weeds is also notable for the way the band works in some extra string sections throughout, a la "It's Nice to Know You Work Alone" from Swoon. These strings are in full effect on lead single "It Doesn't Matter Why," punctuating the track with the urgency of early Arcade Fire.

    The album opens with "Neon Wound," led by Monninger's thundering bass. Right off the bat, Aubert sings, "Hello, my friend / It's nice to see you again / Now that we're on the mend," mixing a declaration that "we're back!" with a reference to his sobriety. For the most part though, Aubert's lyrics remain as cryptic as ever throughout the new songs.

    You get some incredibly '90's loud/quiet dynamics on "Don't Know Yet" and "Straw Man," but if you're looking to emulate post-Nirvana alt-rock, you might as well do it with Butch Vig! The textures and interplay of Aubert's guitars and Monninger's bass work are on display on "Songbirds" as well, while the moody "Bag of Bones" is another highlight of Widow's Weeds. It all wraps up with "We Are Chameleons," a classic SSPU rocker built on more big bass riffs and some sharp pounding drums from Guanlao.

    With Widow's Weeds, Silversun Pickups don't stray from their core sound, but at this point, you wouldn't expect them to. It does prove that they're certainly a band that's still worth heading with into the musical weeds.
    Review by Joey O.

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