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Local heroes make a good showing

July 23, 2006|Alie Ward

Silversun Pickups

"Carnavas" (Dangerbird Records)

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HUMAN beings are hard-wired to root for the home team, but senseless loyalty can leave the defeated looking like face-painted buffoons. Luckily, Silversun Pickups, a sweetheart of the Silver Lake indie rock scene, allows locals to dodge the bullet of mindless allegiance by churning out a rather solid full-length debut, "Carnavas."

The 11-track CD (in stores Tuesday) is slickly produced by Dave Cooley, capturing a sound that is at once polished but also faithful to the fuzzy guitar texture, rolling punchy drums and thin, pleading voice of frontman Brian Aubert -- all of which lend the Pickups their wistful 1990s atmosphere. The album's first single, "Well Thought Out Twinkles," boasts hooky vocals and catchy riffs blurred by distortion, but the radio favorite, "Little Lovers So Polite," is the standout, bearing impending nostalgia like a road trip not yet taken.

Though slower numbers such as "Rusted Wheel" build upon themselves well with a patient balance of rumbling rhythms and softer vocals, the disc falters at times in its pacing, sandwiching the more up-tempo and vocally abrasive tracks such as "Future Foe Scenarios" between the softer tunes, and overusing strains of feedback as sonic garnishes. But overall, the efforts on "Carnavas" have yielded a soundtrack well-suited to the giddy languor of summertime.

-- Alie Ward

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). .

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