This was not the one I had in mind to review next but I'm slinking away from doing this and I want to keep doing this so next review is...
Silversun Pickups is a great band for how well they walk the line of alternative while implanting a pop sensibility in all their songs(and solo recorded cover I know of). Pikul leans toward the alternative side while Swoon dips into the poppier aspect of the Pickups. Carnavas is the best blend of both the pop and alternative sides of the Pickups that define them so well.
Carnavas begins with the powerful but rather detached opener Melatonin. It starts and end to a consistent stream of eight notes.Brian and Nikki are both emotional and yet monotonous as they sing about apathy of a couple crash and burning out on drugs. Like Disorder from Unknown Pleasures Melatonin it's a good indicator of what to come throughout the album. Steady bass and guitar lines that are catchy, grooving, somewhat unique drumming, light synth and occasional bursts of noise provide by guitar and synthesizor. All combined to make rather catchy pop songs.
Well Thought Out Twinkles is a change from the detachment of Melatonin. There is anger and excitement underlining this song. This is where Brian Aubert also begins to really display his skills for making catchy and cool guitar lines in the intro and during his noisy, shoegaze like solo towards the end of the piece. Checkered Floor is a more laid back tune, catchy but lacks the bite of Well Thought Out Twinkles. The album begin alternate between the two type of tunes talked about, the quiet more drawn out pieces that has more focus on keyboard (Checkered Floor, Rusted Wheel) with the tunes that are more guitar oriented(Lazy Eye, Well Thought Twinkles, Future Foe Scenarios).
The album closes on Common Reactor which is one of the best tunes on the album. Interesting lyrically and is rather rather happy and poppy at times for talking about an unstoppable, sorry end. It's a really synthesise orient piece that really makes the song with the noise and light happy synth tones. It really feels like the band gave it their all in the song to produce a reaction of being satisfied yet feeling slightly wrong enough to want to listen to it again and again.
Musician Highlight:Joe Lester
All the musicians are equally important to the sound. Brian provides an unique lead(emotional with a sarcastic overtone), smooth sliding, vibrato filled guitar lines, and fun memorable noisy guitar solos. Nikki Monninger creates bouncy, catchy bass lines that cause noticable tension on songs, and provide a nervous, rather innocent voice that when combine with Brian's make really pleasing vocal harmonies. Chris does a great job holding the band together with his grooving drumming that vary slightly from the typical drum patterns that a typical alt drummer(or drummer in general) would play. The final band member that fills out the sound is the keyboardist Joe Lester. His playing is subtle and often not talked about from what I've seen but it's fantastic when given close attention. Lester is an important part of the Pickups sound in making songs sound eery and interesting with his light happy synths.(Melatonin wouldn't be half the song without the echoing keyboard part Lester plays). Joe also provides the other half of the noise that Brian can't pull off or too occupy in the guitar part to do. Listen to Common Reactor, it's one of the best example of the qualities I mentioned about Lester's playing.
Casual listeners/Guitar Orient Guys:Well Thought Twinkles, Lazy Eye, Future Foe Scenarios(I would recommend that order).
Recommended sampling before listening to Carnavas
Deeper Cuts/Best Tunes:Common Reactor,Rusted Wheel, Little Lovers So Polite
Myspace link to the full album for sampling overall.
If you guys would like to rec albums for me to review I'll do them, it will keep me from being lazy about this stuff.