If Billy Corgan had eschewed his whiny angst or chased his muse into fields of dream pop rather than '70s rock, Smashing Pumpkins might have ended up sounding more like Silversun Pickups. Although the act's ethereal yet driving guitar lines recall early Ride or Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine, its catchy song structures also invoke the adventurous pop of bands like Garbage and Elastica. At the same time, however, the Pickups bring a frayed grittiness to their songs that doesn't sound like they've been spit-shined to fit into some prefab Top 40 marketing niche. Beautifully trebly bass lines buoy alongside bubbling and shining fuzz tones to uplift the emotional tenor set by the insistent vocals of singer Brian Aubert and bassist Nikki Monninger, which combine to make a unified androgynous voice.
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