Silversun Pickups: Swoon

The second full-length album by this young Los Angeles quartet melds pop-rock conventions with robust guitarscapes, hypnotic rhythms and lyrics that juggle angst, trepidation and beauty.

The band's 2006 debut, Carnavas, was uneven but contained a couple of killer tracks. While there's nothing on Swoon as powerfully transcendent as Carnavas' "Well Thought Out Twinkles" or "Lazy Eye," this new one is more consistent, weaving together 10 disarming compositions to produce a musical fugue state. It's an album into which you can immerse yourself as if in a hot bath.

The most common complaint about Silversun Pickups is that they sound like, according to a respected friend, "lame Smashing Pumpkins." And although Brian Aubert's light tenor superficially resembles Billy Corgan's, it's unfair to categorize this band based on that similarity alone.

Aubert is in the process of creating a multi-faceted guitar sound, encompassing quiet melodies, full-on squalls of feedback and monster-roar effects.

He also engages in metal-style riffing on "Sort Of" and introduces "Draining" with jazz chords. His pizzicato playing gently matches the (synthesized?) strings on "The Royal We," before growing menacing on the choruses. And the burbling patterns he produces on "Growing Old Is Getting Old" recall The Edge of The Unforgettable Fire.

A lame rhythm section would definitely hobble this band, but bassist Nikki Monninger and drummer Christopher Guanlao maintain the propulsion to help Silversun Pickups reach escape velocity.

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