Silversun Pickups: Widow’s Weeds
On their disturbingly polished fourth LP, 2015’s Better Nature , Silversun Pickups buried their sculpted shoegaze guitars and alt-rock choruses under layers of electronics and New Wave synths. But art has a tendency to reflect the color of one’s life—and after a turbulent past few years, the LA quartet return to darkness on the Butch Vig-produced Widow’s Weeds . It’s an ideal, and somewhat inevitable, pairing: One of Vig’s signature projects is helming Smashing Pumpkin’s 1993 masterwork, Siamese Dream, and Silversun Pickups have been hounded by comparisons to that band their entire career. Together, they funnel the angst of the musicians’ personal lives—singer/guitarist Brian Aubert’s battles with depression and efforts to get sober, the death of keyboardist Joe Lester’s father—into cinematic rock songs fit for arenas and headphones alike. “It Doesn’t Matter Why” is a tightly wound epic built on weepy strings, spidery guitar harmonics and a palm-muted riff worthy of Queens of the Stone Age; “Neon Wound” rides a thumping kraut-rock synth and crashing guitar chords into a healing balm. “Hello my friend,” Aubert sings. “It’s nice to see you again/ Now that we’re on the mend.” Vig’s fingerprints are all over the record—from the distorted punch of Aubert’s guitars on “Freakazoid” to the airy synth-and-six-string swirl of “Simpatico.” But the band’s catharsis is far from manufactured— for the first time in years, Silversun Pickups sound like they’re tapping into something primal.