For Fans Of
Silversun Pickups are one of those bands who are quietly confident, building their skill set and sound with each release to a point where new listeners who come in at say, the third record, are stunned at how good a band they really are. ‘Neck Of The Woods‘ is not the band’s defining moment, only because they probably haven’t had it yet, but it certainly is the type of album that says "If you haven’t been paying attention to us, you better start now."
The group’s debut ‘Carnavas’ spawned a couple of popular singles, but it wasn’t until their second effort, 2009’s ‘Swoon,’ when people really started top take notice. This being said and considering how good both of those records are, there really isn’t enough people noticing.
Whilst there isn’t a moment on this album worth skipping, the beginning and end are the strongest points, kicking of with Skin Graph, a song the begins slowly, relaxing the listener in with delayed, heart wrenching guitars that softly build into a frantic yet relaxed beat and heavy vocal melodies from front man Brian Aubert. The guitars continue to layer until the song explodes with a wall of distortion and synthesisers, only to fall back down into a spacious ambience before one more final crushing blow. If the dynamics in this six minute opener tell you anything, it’s that you are in for one hell of a ride.
Many of the songs on this record follow a similar formula, luring you into a relaxed atmosphere, then completely changing their pace half way through into something far more wicked. Second track Make Believe is no exception, beginning with a picked guitar line and strong vocals then snapping into an up tempo and chaotic drum and guitar assault and the half way point.
The first single, Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) is driven by shimmering synths and delayed vocals in what is one of the more brightly toned tracks with unquestionably one of the catchiest chorus lines. The bright, summer like indie rock feel of the synths sets this song apart from the rest of the record which usually sticks to darker, more sinister tones. There are plenty of stand out moments, but the two main ones are the rolling drum lines and solemn vocal melodies of Busy Bees, which intertwine with the driving guitar lines perfectly, and Gun-Shy Sunshine, a groove heavy, bass driven song they breaks into some of the sexiest guitar lines the band have ever written. Things close with Out Of Breath, a track riddled with a sense of urgency and floating chorus lines, that is overall the best example of how musically tight this band really is.
‘Neck Of The Woods’ is a well thought out album, especially from a dynamics point of view, which makes it extremely enjoyable from start to finish. Silversun Pickups are ready for you to hear them, they actually have been for awhile, and they will just keep releasing great records until the rest of the world to catches up.
1. Skin Graph
2. Make Believe
3. Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)
4. Busy Bees
5. Here We Are (Chancer)
6. Mean Spirits
8. The Pit
9. Dots And Dashes (Enough Already)
10. Gun-Shy Sunshine
11. Out Of Breath