Melatonin,” the first cut on Silversun Pickups’ debut full-length, either has no chorus or consists of nothing but. Same goes for the next one, the gorgeous single “Well Thought Out Twinkles.” Either way it doesn’t much matter, as the Silverlake, California, four-piece repeatedly goes for sonics over structure, the songs on Carnavas rendered in broad strokes, all soft-loud dynamic shifts, lushly layered melodies, oversaturated tones, ripples of feedback, and squalls of white noise. Tunes whirr to life and soar skyward, fizzle out and start up again; there is no hook because it’s all the hook. The easy—and constant—reference point is Smashing Pumpkins (and damn if “Waste It On” doesn’t simply transpose that old “Crush” bassline), but the Pickups are warmer, fuzzier, Silverlakier than Chicago’s finest ever were, what with Billy Corgan’s reedy, pathos-infused whine forever deflating that band’s heady roar. There’s no such grounding here. Brian Aubert whispers and sighs his words, and even his screams suggest twee tantrum rather than acute angst. More helium for the balloon, it would seem, and at their best—”Lazy Eye,” “Dream at Tempo 119,” the aforementioned “Twinkles”—the Pickups manage not only ethereality, but euphoria.
Silversun Pickups play Hammerstein Ballroom November 22 with Wolfmother, mcstudios.com/newsite/hammersteinballroom.