Neck of the Woods – Silversun Pickups

After just recently releasing a kick-ass EP, Silversun Pickups finally drops their next full length studio album. Will the group continue the trend of adding distortion and noise to a mostly homogenous collection? Although that’s a horrible summation of the direction of Swoon, which is admittedly a great album, the criticism is still fair. Silversun is a group, however, that has a lot more to share than a single trick, and even though Seasick hinted at some good things, it didn’t prepare me for Neck of the Woods.

Brave diversity is a concise description of the collection of tracks. As the album first starts, I actually thought I was listening to new Sigur Ros. Within moments it sounded like the recent Portishead effort. How a band can pull off representing so many influences at once is remarkable. Depeche Mode, She Wants Revenge, My Bloody Valentine- I shit you not, sequences of songs sound like all of these groups.

Busy Bees
Busy Bees

All this variety is immediately confusing- the music is different and although some songs have catchy sections, the expectations of where the music is going keep changing. Inconsistent beats, notes, and melodies will require more listening to than the group’s previous work but high notes and powerful surges excite, making familiarity with the songs and the lyrics elevate the experience. Neck of the Woods is definitely more indie. The songs have less standard pop structures and more changeups and strong melodic dissonances. But the sounds are purposeful with great builds to rocking sections.

Besides the non-conformist song structures, Silversun is adding some other twists to this cocktail. Some tracks are more synth driven at times, especially in their intros. The band thankfully plays with much less distortion. Many of the vocals are simultaneously backed up by the female bassist giving a magical quality to the harmony. Everything here screams love of music and discontent with doing the same thing again and again, and after all, isn’t that kind of what ‘more indie’ is all about?

Out Of Breath
Out of Breath

My recommendation on Neck of the Woods should be clear. This is a landmark album by the Silversun Pickups. This is a snapshot moment of the band maturing into something more than just a signature sound. This is a headphone record. Put those on, turn the volume up, and just enjoy the variety and pacing of the entire album without interruption. It all fits together so well that it will amaze you at how enthralling an experience it can be.