Silversun Pickups - Seasick [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Silversun Pickups

Seasick [10-inch] (2011)

Dangerbird Records

While Smashing Pumpkins comparisons will probably always follow them, I'd argue that Silversun Pickups simply reflects '90s alternative in general. Still, though, the two bands have one thing in common: They aim for grand achievements. That's a roundabout way of saying that the Pickups take a while between albums. While LP #3 is still a way's away, Seasick, a stopgap EP consisting of Swoon B-sides released exclusively for Record Store Day's Black Friday incarnation, at least introduces some new tunes to tide over hardcore fans. That said, hardcore fans are just about the only ones who will enjoy these songs.

That's not to say Seasick is bad; it's a decent enough EP. But none of these compositions are among the band's finest, and when stacked up against Swoon proper, it's obvious why they were cut. The title track is the strongest, a lumbering burner that builds on mood. It's reminiscent of older Pickups songs like "Mercury" or "Table Scraps." Curiously, those tracks were relegated to a bonus seven-inch for the vinyl edition of Carnavas, so it's kind of like the band already knew that these slower songs weren't gonna be crowd pleasers.

"Broken Bottles," one of the B-side's two songs, quickly establishes why it wasn't on Swoon. That intro is fucking weird. Silversun Pickups are an androgynous band. Male and female vocals blend together, as do the guitar, bass and keyboard. There is no horizon, just a blur. Which puts "Broken Bottles" in an odd spot, as it packs a strong electronic bent while rocking the heck out. That chorus is also insistently poppy. It's actually a really good song, but it wouldn't have fit on Swoon; it barely jives with the band's discography overall.

That leaves "Ribbons & Detours" to close listeners out. It's another atmospheric number, very slight but warm and enticing. Still, Seasick as a whole is a curio, a look at what went into Swoon's alt-rock bluster. Based on these songs, that record's track listing is the correct one, even though Seasick is solid teaser to tide fans over while the band works on its next big release.