Silversun Pickups released the first single off its new record today. And “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” is a tripped-out, wall-of-sound pop jam — hardly the single fans are expecting from the L.A. group.
And that’s great news.
We’ve said it before. The Silversun Pickups are one of the best new bands of the last decade. The “Pikul” EP in 2005 paved the way smartly for the following year’s “Carnavas” — which was a lush lead-in to the equally sparkling “Swoon” in 2009.
That trio of recordings produced songs that are as infectious (“Lazy Eye”) as they are memorable (“Kissing Families”), as raging (“Little Lovers So Polite”) as they are apocalyptic (“Panic Switch”). Sure, the band still can’t escape the Smashing Pumpkins references — which is as lame as people referencing Joy Division when talking about Interpol’s fourth record. But given the sound of “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” — off “Neck of the Woods,” which Dangerbird will release on May 8 — the band might finally escape that albatross.
Whereas the first two full-lengths were companion pieces, this single hints at a new direction for the band. An ongoing hum that never quite relents throughout the song is a sonic assault akin to Flaming Lips territory. It’s still Brian Aubert’s voice on top of the sonics, but this time the pop hooks aren’t as readily available and the melody isn’t as easy to find. We’ve listened to it six or seven times already, and while it’s not as radio ready as the band’s past releases, the song and its whirling, almost dizzying atmospherics is growing on us.
Put simply: It’s weird. And after a strong EP-LP-LP run — one that saw the Silversun Pickups draw in a potent international audience — it might just be an ideal time for the band to get strange.