Review Summary: A catchy deviation of The Killers without the majority of that band's problems.
To paraphrase the music that Neon Trees create: imagine if The Killers removed all the crap that started to enter their post-Hot Fuss
efforts – Brandon Flower’s ego, pretentious tries at cool
indie rock, and the negating of what that band should have stayed with throughout their career: dancing indie pop and glamour – and throw in a healthy dab of 80s alternative influences via pioneers U2 and Depeche Mode that's coupled with the more recent modern smart-rock crafting of The Strokes and Bloc Party for a final product that glistens and hits immediately. Sound appealing? It might to some, especially to those that want their electro pop fast, up front, and devoid of any real depth or substance. But stuff like that is okay; it’s just fun music to turn on from time to time and sing along to while driving throughout the day. You know, something you don’t necessarily have to let your peers know you actually enjoy.
That last statement might cause many music listeners to turn away, but the truth of the matter is that Neon Trees aren’t for everyone. The band was first invited to open for The Killers on their late 2008 tour in North America, and since then they have seen a steady climb to a place where they can finally get their name out there. Just give a listen to first single “Animal” to envision where this band from Utah could be headed with debut mini-album Habits
: beginning with a simple drum beat and singer Tyler Glen’s tale of foreboding relational instincts, the song erupts into the most immediate chorus hook this side of Van Halen’s “Panama” – slight exaggeration used – that one might hear if they were to hand pick a one-hit-wonder single from the 80s. Though this may be the most obvious display of radio-minded drive on Habits
, each of the eight tracks presented on this mini album bring the hooks hard and fast, destining themselves to be chart winners that might actually last a month on the alternative charts (tops, that is).
Fifth track “1983” brings the specific decade of influences to the forefront of attention; working with macho tactics to court the girl of interest, Tyler Glen uses a yearning yet unobtrusive vocal style to rope us into the song's poppy, dancing beat, largely amounting to a situation where we’re following the song’s catchy flow, instead of the lyrics voiced. Don’t expect to find any profound and deeply thought-out phrases here on Habit
; Neon Trees opt to obey their so-called stereotype limitations by penning head absorbers, instead of clever lyrics. That’s really okay, though, because the world of music marketing revolves around such songs as the moving All That You Can't Leave Behind
-recall found in closer “Our War” and the finger-snapping sex innuendo of “In The Next Room”. Someone has to keep the labels alive and fighting; what better band than electro-pop rock Neon Trees to take up the torch, combining a profound
set of influences with in-your-face catchy agendas that just really can’t be ignored – unless you turn your radio off, of course. Sure, Habits
’ songs may be limited in the areas of lyrics and depth, but they’re better than a fair portion of what’s already out there on alternative radio today.
Sins Of My Youth