The West

Ambitions realised
Silversun Pickups. Picture: Supplied.

When LA's Silversun Pickups released Lazy Eye, the second single cut from debut LP Carnavas, it was a near-perfect slice of alt-rock brilliance circa 2002.

At the time, many thought the natural progression was evolution into stadium rockers. But the four-piece obviously had other ideas, as fourth album Neck of the Woods proved when it was released in May.

It bristled with ambition; a private ambition to re-evaluate the Silversun sound as outlined on Carnavas and sophomore effort Swoon. "To me, stadium rock is the opposite of ambition unless your ambition is to be Coca-Cola, in which case we'd fail," frontman Brian Aubert says down the phone from LA. "It's not in our DNA. I'm sure there are people who'd love us to do that but I just don't see it."

After two albums with producer Dave Cooley, Aubert felt the writing process was demanding a new approach, so the band enlisted the influential Jacknife Lee (Bloc Party, U2). "Dave Cooley is our brother, he's a great person, but we wanted different battles for this one and a whole different process of recording," Aubert explains.

"With (Lee) it's like 'You come into my garage for 10 weeks with all your ideas and we make an album'. And that's what we did.

"It was crazy-wild, and he's a genius, and now we're really close with him."

The group probably aren't as tight with US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, after asking his campaign to cease playing their track Panic Switch at events.

Although admitting it's kinda cool to join a pantheon of artists who've had music inappropriately used by Republican candidates that includes Springsteen and the Foo Fighters, Aubert plays down the incident. "Believe me, we're the least of Romney's troubles."

Surprisingly, a change of producer or spat with Romney aren't even close to the biggest thing to happen to the group this year; bass player Nikki Monniger played her last show for the foreseeable future last month - she is to give birth to twins in December.

"She will not be coming to Australia but when she heard we were coming she tried to squeeze them (the twins) in," Aubert laughs.

"She was doing these leg exercises saying 'I can do it.'

"She was doing these shows last month and her bass was literally 10 feet (3m) away from her so we said 'Don't be a hero - band, schmand'."

Neck of the Woods is out now. Silversun Pickups play the Fremantle Arts Centre with the Dandy Warhols on November 13. Tickets from Oztix or Heatseeker.

The West Australian

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