"Some guitar magazine said about us, 'They're pretty cool, but they're too dreamy for me.' We were pretty proud of how we smeared things. Even vocally, you might think I'm a girl sometimes. On this record, we went for that times five."
That's how Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert describes "Swoon," the follow-up to the Los Angeles band's 2006 Dangerbird breakthrough, "Carnavas." The album is expected out by late spring.
"There isn't a single song on here that would've made sense on 'Carnavas.' That album was in-your-face. To me, it's a little naive. I really like that about it. But this one is almost bizarrely big. Every song is that much more complicated."
Look for tracks like "The Royal We," "Panic Switch," "Broken Bottles," "Growing Old Is Getting Old" and "There's No Secrets This Year," plus a 16-piece string section including members of the Section Quartet on select cuts.
Aubert points to "Broken Bottles" as an example of a song that underwent complete transformation from its original version.
"When we first started writing it, it went in so many directions," he says. "It got quiet, then loud. It had like seven parts. It made sense at the time. Even the producer was excited. As we wrote more songs, every time we'd come back to it, it was just terrible. It's all over the place. It felt a little pedestrian. In hour 11 before we went in, I took it home and tore it apart. It's much smaller and much tighter. We kept the one part we liked and wrote something around it.
As for the string section, Aubert admits Silversun Pickups are "not really a ballad band, but there's some slow songs with strings." Two other rockers have strings as well, including "The Royal We," which Aubert says is "truly insane. The strings add this big, fat layer."
Aubert says he and his bandmates are still a bit blown away by the success they've experienced with "Carnavas" and its rock radio hit single "Lazy Eye," which has sold nearly 400,000 downloads.
"It's still weird to hear it in an airport in Oklahoma," he says. "We hear it out places and at bars. One time at a bar here in L.A., I was with [keyboardist[ Joe [Lester] and some song was on and he was like, 'Who is this?' I was like, 'That's you and me, man!'"
The group will return to the road later this year, but for now the lone confirmed appearance is at Coachella in mid-April.
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