Picks and Pans Review: Diorama

UPDATED 09/16/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/16/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT

Silverchair (Atlantic)

Silverchair's ambitious fourth disc, which debuted at No. 1 in the trio's native Australia last March, seeks to erase any memory of its Pearl Jamwannabe past. On Diorama, Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou do prove they are older and wiser musically, shrewdly creating trippy, sunny soundscapes punctuated by lush orchestrations, blaring horns and grinding guitars.

Lyrically, the former teen rockers have grown up too, opting for a more cerebral take on angst. "Forget about the troubled times/ Munificent, artless and ascetic/ Playing like a scared enthusiastic pawn," frontman and lyricist Johns sings in a weary baritone on "After All These Years," the album's melancholy closer.

However, the band does occasionally lapse into the derivative postgrunge it started out with on Frogstomp, Silverchair's 1995 debut. The results, as on the heavy, guitar-driven "One Way Mule," are about as fresh as ratty flannel.

Bottom Line: Getting better with age

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