Sound: Since forming in 2002 outside of L.A., the Silversun Pickups have a unique brand of alternative rock mixed with just a twist of shoegaze that gives them a sound uniquely their own. Silversun Pickups are establishing what appears to be a 3 year pattern in their album releases, with their first release "Carnavas" releasing in 2006. "Swoon" followed in 2009, and after a long wait we have "Neck Of The Woods" in 2012. There are eleven tracks on the album, with the average length somewhere right under 5 minutes. The album clocks in at just under an hour total. The first track, "Skin Graph", had a very slow intro and at first I was starting to get worried, but then the song bloomed and the rest of the album flowed nicely. After my first listen to the album, when I've went back for subsequent listening, I seem to get tired on waiting for the first track about half the time and skip it when I'm about 20 seconds in.
I will try not to waste too much time talking about Silversun Pickups's previous releases, but first I have to say that I enjoyed "Swoon" much more than "Neck Of The Woods". Maybe it needs to grow on me a little bit I still love the album but maybe my expectations were a little higher than what was delivered. I'm not saying this is a bad album... I'm not even saying it is mediocre it is a good album I just enjoyed "Swoon" more. I really enjoyed Silversun Pickups use of fuzz in the past and it seems like there is a lot less of it on "Neck Of The Woods". Still, there are some great riffs and with the exception from a slow start with track one, the album kept me engaged throughout. If you can't tell yet, I'm fairly conflicted on the album while I am enjoying the album, I am mourning the album I thought it would be in my own mind. Either way, it still made it onto my MP3 player in its entirety. // 7
Lyrics: There is something special about the way that Brian and Nikki's vocals harmonize with each other. I can't put my finger on it, but I can't get enough of it. I've heard the vocals compared to the vocals of Coheed And Cambria and I have to disagree with that. Possibly Brian's vocals alone can be compared to Coheed And Cambria, but with the addition of Nikki it becomes something else entirely. The vocals, besides being well mixed and such, also have a great haunting quality to them that fits their music perfectly. The lyrics match the music and are well executed that is the bottom line.
On the subject of lyrics, they are pretty solid and about what you would expect from Silversun Pickups. From the single, "Bloody Mary", you have the following lyrics: "Drown you out/ And left you with the sounds/ We'll spoil good nights/ Replacing lullabies/ How could they never notice? / What they planted in your space/ See you laughing in a picture/ But I know what's out of frame/ You barely cried/ But you made it out alive/ And I'm so proud/ That you're in my hands now/ If we grew up together/ You would find it's not the same/ I want to jump inside that picture/ Show you what you gained/ You can stay here long enough/ We can play with Bloody Mary/ Say her name into the dark/ Activate our nerve endings". So, kind of creepy and otherworldly which fits right in with what we've grown to expect from Silversun Pickups. // 8
Overall Impression: My favorite song on the album would have to be "Bloody Mary", or at least it is for the time being. I really enjoy all the songs on the album. If I had to choose my least favorite song it would have to be "Skin Graph" just because it feels like the song is just too slow to get started. My second favorite song from the album is "The Pit", which is definitely worth checking out as well as "Bloody Mary" if you are one of those people who download songs instead of albums. I'm also really enjoying "Mean Spirits" and "Gun-Shy Sunshine". I would say overall the album is worth buying. It isn't "Swoon", but it isn't a bad album. At each listen I'm enjoying it a little more, and it is my go-to album right now when I turn an album on. I'm enjoying Nikki's bass playing on the album a lot while it isn't mind-blowing it is very solid and the bass lines are really interesting. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2012