music review – Silversun Pickups, The Singles Collection

After a career spanning ten years Silversun Pickups release The Singles Collection, an album which contains ten previously released songs plus one new track, called ‘Cannibal’. It’s a lean assortment of songs, which isn’t surprising: the band has only released the three albums Carnavas (2006), Swoon (2009) and Neck Of The Woods (2012), and two notable EPs Pikul (2004) and Seasick (2011). While lean in this case is definitely mean and the songs go well together, it’s quite a bland listening experience. The band’s always picked singles with a very similar tone and structure, which doesn’t do SSPU justice at all. In this case the singles collection is definitely not a “best of”.

The Singles Collection starts out well enough: Pikul single ‘Kissing Families’ is a more intricate, dynamic and acoustic song than most of the band’s later singles and, to date, it’s still one of the best tracks they’ve ever done. After the album’s opener it’s time for the three Carnavas tracks ‘Lazy Eye’, ‘Well Thought Out Twinkles’ and ‘Little Lover’s So Polite’, three tracks heavy on power chords, riffs and a thick guitar sound. The same can be said for Swoon‘s ‘Panic Switch’, ‘Substitution’, ‘The Royal We’ and Neck Of The Woods‘ ‘Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)’, ‘The Pit’ and ‘Dots And Dashes (Enough Already)’, although the latter three have a less distorted, more mellow sound with an added splash of electronica for good measure. With ‘Cannibal’ it’s back to the wall of distorted guitars, however.

The ten singles aren’t bad tracks by any means; they’re actually quite good, despite the fact they’re definitely not the best SSPU have to offer. The big problem is just that it’s too much of the same, a tedious chain of very comparable songs. There’s a lack of freshness, of beautiful ballads like ‘Rusted Wheel’, ‘Seasick’ or ‘Here We Are (Chancer)’ to break up  the tedium and add a counterbalance to this batch of less sophisticated offerings. In addition new track ‘Cannibal’ isn’t worth the price of admission: it’s a repetitive romp that takes a minute and a half to finally get going and abandon a underwhelming chord scheme.

The Singles Collection is a disappointing collection of songs: too much of the same. The Singles Collection fails to impress newcomers and sole new track ‘Cannibal’ is hardly a reason for longtime SSPU fans to check this album out. 5/10


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