Something about the tangible tension in Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert's voice makes you believe him. As he howls and moans lines like "So we are all growing old and it's getting old" and "How many times do you wanna die?/How many ways do you wanna die?," you find yourself drawn in and experience that emotion with him. The rest of the band does its part too. Silversun's layered soundscapes swirl you around and build up to urgent climaxes. While the Los Angeles foursome's debut album, Carnavas, and 2005's Pikul EP were deeply skillful and notably impressive, Swoon, its second full-length, ups the ante. "The Royal We," the album's epic standout, surges with reverb-heavy guitars and driving beats, propelled by Aubert's distinctive wail. "Panic Switch" is filled with static, rising and falling to create an anxious mood, and offering a clear hook in its driving chorus. The strings-augmented "Catch and Release" is emotive and sincere, taking the album to a slower, more introspective place than some of Swoon's more immediate numbers. It's an album you want to listen to again and again, not just because it's good, but because it feels like you have to in order to hear every nuance. — Emily Zemler
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