Although formed over a decade ago, the Silversun Pickups are still moving and grooving in the modern alternative circle, showcased by their September 25th album drop, Better Nature. Albums with fewer songs always catch my attention, as I judge the quality of an album based on the fraction of songs that I really enjoyed. Though only 10 songs in length, Better Nature wins me over by featuring more than 4 quality, innovative tracks.
The first three songs, “Cradle (Better Nature),” “Connection”, and “Pins and Needles”, are macabre and upbeat. Accomplished with fast tempo and dark melodies, this combination of feelings creates a musical experience that few bands can achieve. I find myself legitimately moved as Brian Aubert howls the hard-hitting phrases “Better Nature” and “This is my connection.” That poignant sound is chased with the delicate “Pins and Needles,” not delicate in a soft, whispering way, but gentle like the slight pickup of wind before a storm.
I think this dynamic is why I find myself disliking the track “Friendly Fires,” as it just prolongs this feeling of standing on the cusp of something grander. I find its placement on the album odd, as it is much more suited to be a conclusion with its mellow undertones and washed out ending. While I find myself not hugely entranced by their leading single “Nightlight,” it most assuredly rounds out the central portion of their overall piece—which turns down quite a few clicks from the excellent album beginning. The few mediocre add-ons following “Nightlight” are luckily sandwiched by the curious “Ragamuffin,” which explores new depth of sound over a full six minutes.
Back when I bought my first car, the owner left one sole thing in the 6 CD-changer…a master mix of the Silversun Pickups. It got me through multiple short drives where I just did not have the impetus to plug in my aux cord and browse through my own personal library of music. The Pickups are still that everyday enjoyment band, and if you casually come across Better Nature, I am most positive that you will nod along in appreciation of their unique alternative imprint.