June 7, 2019 Silversun Pickups – Widow’s Weeds (Album Review)
A unique and spontaneous creation can be hard to come by in a time where it is easy to gain access through trends. Widow’s Weeds, which arrives June 7th via New Machine Recordings, is an album that has bloomed from the ingenuity and reinvention of Californian Alternative Rock band Silversun Pickups.
Dazzling listeners since the 2006 debut album Carnavas, and a follow-up to the 2015 album Better Nature, on their effort the skills of Vocalist/Guitarist Brian Aubert, Bassist/Backing Vocalist Nikki Monninger, Drummer Christopher Guanlao, and Keyboardist Joe Lester are truly prominent throughout every song. Marking their fifth album, with the magical touch of Butch Vig in the production department, a man whose genius had a hand in bands such as Garbage and Nirvana, it’s obvious that Widow’s Weeds was almost guaranteed to be true masterpiece from the onset.
Complete with ten new songs, Widow’s Weeds opens to “Neon Wounds,” which makes its grand debut with a spectacularly dynamic bass line accompanied with zesty rattling drums and melody. The vibrant vocals of Aubert are highlighted perfectly by the band’s affinity towards electronic keys and choral effects, but thankfully neither of these overcrowd too often. The tones of the guitar, while excellent throughout the flow of the song, especially shine on its solo. Meanwhile, “It Doesn’t Matter Why,” in accompaniment with “Don’t Know Yet,” come off as upbeat and poppy, though the latter is more the esoteric of the pair. It is also the track that is perfectly-suited to a party up in the clouds with its ambient, New Wave frequencies and its repetition of the line “It doesn’t matter why we’re numb.“
“Freakazoid” has the soul of an angsty Grunge song, but is a gorgeous ode to anyone who has ever felt out of place or lost to it all, and it delivers a truly exquisite performance on acoustic guitar. Similarly, Aubert’s singing here prompts a sensation of comprehension and acceptance; it is true and raw. Then, “Straw Man” begins with a melody crafted by acoustic guitar which works in beautiful harmony with its vocal performance.
“Bag of Bones” is bright but echoes with an anxious malaise, while the title-track, “Widow’s Weeds,” is easy-going like a spring breeze. Here, the vocals radiate outwards and remain in faultless euphony with both the backing vocals and guitar work. This leads flawlessly to the seventh song, titled “Songbirds.” Rhythmically riveting, with the percussion and guitars in an infinite race to outdo one another, the composition allows Aubert’s vocals to provide a brief reprise before the song slings back into the fast-paced instrumental fueled by Guanlao’s drumming.
A stunning and breathtaking performance, “Simpatico” utilizes Country-esque guitar riffs that flow in an endless river, coalescing with the bass and low, humming frequencies to set a mood. However, the most Rock of the songs is the album’s final track, “We Are Chameleons.” With eruptive guitar and vocals that weave throughout, the ultimate cacophony of off-time guitars at the conclusion of the song is an ironic twist to its title.
Throughout the entirety of Widow’s Weeds, the use of loops and fx is reminiscent of the early days of mixing in Hip Hop and Rap. This said, however quirky, the band’s outside and occasionally off-the-cuff influences are integrated effortlessly into the overall style of the album creating a truly unique offering. Every instrument is easily discernible, thusly allowing each musician to exhibit their skills and creativity while working together to craft a cohesive and impressive unit. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Silversun Pickups’ Widow’s Weeds 5 out of 5 stars.