Silversun Pickups are a band that are both very well known, and yet, hugely underrated at the same time. Formed over 20 years ago in Los Angeles, the group initially created a perfect blend of shoegaze and indie rock, drawing influences from bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins.
On their 6th album Physical Thrills, the band continues to expand beyond this sound, now incorporating more electronic elements into their tracks, to create a beautiful synth rock sound that really compliments the singer Brian Aubert’s vocals.
One of the best stand-out songs on this record has got to be Stay Down (Way Down). Opening up with a heavily distorted riff that sounds like something Royal Blood would’ve made on their debut album, it then kicks in and turns into a bona fide, classic Silversun Pickups track – with a beautiful melodic chorus, infused with sweet, dreamy harmonies and backed by a steady and groovy drum beat, courtesy of drummer Chris Guanlao.
Bassist Nikki Monninger steals the show and takes centre stage on a couple of tracks, as she provides lead vocals on the glorious single Alone On A Hill, and plays one of, arguably, her best bass hooks on the infectiously catchy System Error. It’s great to see Nikki take on more of a key role on this album, as it creates this lovely partnership sound with herself and Aubert, similar to that of bands such as The Joy Formidable.
Physical Thrills is an album that will cater to lifelong fans of the band, and is a perfect introduction for people who want to dive deep into the group’s back catalogue. If this is a sign of things to come, then the sky’s the limit for Silversun Pickups.
Listen to: Stay Down (Way Down), Scared Together, System Error
For fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, The Joy Formidable, Death Cab for Cutie