Silversun Pickups
Neck of the Woods


4.0
excellent

Review

by mcsykosis USER (1 Reviews)
May 9th, 2012 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There isn’t as much distortion or truly hard rocking, but the music itself is still incredibly well-crafted, and benefits highly from repeated listens. Nothing here is “minimal,” the focus is just in a different place. Thankfully, it appears to be a

I’ve never understood why alternative/indie rock outfit Silversun Pickups are constantly compared to 90’s alternative/grunge rockers Smashing Pumpkins. Is it the fact that both of their names form the acronym SP? That must be it, because the similarities sure as hell aren’t incredibly inherent in their respective musical catalogs, unless excessive use of fuzz effects automatically makes you a Pumpkins wannabe.

Considerably baseless comparisons aside, I have always seen Silversun Pickups as a group that can stand alone fairly strong on their collective merits. The vocals are unique, the basslines are legitimately intricate (and also played by a girl!), and the song structures are designed in such a fashion that the only word descriptive enough for them is “epic.” But then, you realize that every would-be hipster in America beat that word to a pulp, and it just doesn’t pack the same punch as it used to. You’re forced to find a different word. Larger-than-life, perhaps? Thank you, Microsoft Word synonym finder.

This brings us to Silversun Pickups’ latest offering, Neck of the Woods. The cover artwork screams “minimal,” and when the first track, “Skin Graph”, hits your eardrums, you may be inclined to believe that’s the direction they have taken. However, it doesn’t take more than a minute or two to realize this isn’t entirely the case, as the song goes from a calming chorusey guitar twang to a signature anthemic chorus with impeccable speed and grace.

“Make Believe” opens by showcasing Christopher Guanlao’s off-beat and appropriately distinctive drumming, before further drawing the listener into a blend of electronic blips, shakers, and an almost worldly-influenced vocal arrangement.

“Here We Are” is a more down-tempo offering, which features more use of electronic percussion combined with delay-laden guitars intended to calm you into a sleep-like state before kicking your face in with “Mean Spirits,” the heavy rocker of the album. Given the rather slow pace of the first half of the album, this song comes out of nowhere, and is a welcomed addition to the track listing. When the hook finally comes in, it will bring a shiver up the back of your neck. The riffs here are nothing short of impressive. This is truly the “Panic Switch” of the album.

The second half of the album is significantly less consistent than the rest of the album. While none of the songs are necessarily bad or unpleasant to listen to, “The Pit” and “Gun-Shy Sunshine” are the only ones that seem to stand out as memorable affairs.

Silversun Pickups are one of my favorite working bands today, and this album has done nothing to deter me from that opinion. If Swoon was a dialed back Carnavas, then Neck of the Woods is a dialed back Swoon. There isn’t as much distortion or truly hard rocking, but the music itself is still incredibly well-crafted, and benefits highly from repeated listens. Nothing here is “minimal,” the focus is just in a different place. Thankfully, it appears to be a great, comfortable place for the band.


user ratings (276)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Adam Knott EMERITUS (3.5)
What it loses in instinctive beauty, it almost makes up for in depth....

Deadwing42 (4)
"Neck of the Woods" is Silversun Pickups at their best yet, and a (very) early contender for album o...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Graveyard
May 10th 2012


5795 Comments


prob because they both have that "dream pop" sensibilities to them

Digging: Prurient - Bermuda Drain

therealhaseeb
May 10th 2012


2 Comments


being compared to the pumpkins was always a +1 in my book, but i see what you mean

JamesSheasgreen
May 10th 2012


5 Comments


Im gonna have to give this one a listen. I loved their old albums.

mcsykosis
May 10th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Being compared to the Pumpkins definitely isn't a bad thing, but the way I hear people make the comparison sometimes makes it sound like Silversun don't have their own unique sound. Even a recent news article here referred to them as "Smashing Pumpkins 2."

But yeah, the comparisons definitely made the most sense on their first album, but they're clearly doing their own thing here.

Ha thanks everybody for not openly shitting on my first review, by the way!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2012


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they're sooooo similar to Smashing Pumpkins come on now.

not gonna rate this yet but it's awesome, duh.

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

jday
May 11th 2012


24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

In no way was Swoon a dialed back Carnavas.

mcsykosis
May 12th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Meh maybe "dialed back" isn't exactly the term I'm looking for. Swoon was certainly a better, more focused album than Carnavas, it just seemed less raw in some ways. Not as though that's a bad thing, though.



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