Silversun Pickups / Neck Of The Woods

Neck of the WoodsNeck of the Woods is the third studio album by Los Angeles alternative rock band Silversun Pickups. The album was produced by Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., Bloc Party) and was released on May 8, 2012 through independent label Dangerbird Records. Lead single “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” was released via the band’s official YouTube channel on March 25th. On May 2, 2012 MTV Buzzworthy posted a full stream of the album online.

The Analysis:

Skin Graph—-Beginning with an almost ghostly dirge, the opening track is slow to come to life. As the track builds..the familiar sound of the band comes to light and you are once more secure with the sound. When Brian opens his mouth to sing you again feel comfortable. The classic Silversun melodies…intermixed with the experimental fuzz are all in place…I smile to myself….knowing I will once again enjoy this journey.

Make Believe—-Continuing in a familiar yet bit more aggressive manner than the previous release, I am always amazed with Brian and his voice and the wonderful bass leads that drive almost every track this band manages to produce. This is the sound of a well driven machine….and like those machines it produces one smile after the other. The melodies are beautiful…the words introspective and the feeling ethereal!

Bloody Mary [Nerve Endings]—-With a bit more of a shimmering sound, this track was the lead-off single for this new CD and showcases the band at their very best. The sound is very deep at the onset…there seems to be layers and layers of sound going on all at the same time…until it magically ebbs and allows the entrance of a crystal clear vocal. The chorus brings back a bit of the fuzz…but the melodies remain intact. One of the greatest tracks this band has produced!

Busy Bees—-A fantastic bass driven intro begins this track as the drums join in and set the melody from the very onset. Brian enters with a much clearer vocal than on previous releases…you catch almost every word as the noise levels seem much more produced. This is a bit sedate….like the recipe calls for…with just intermittent fuzz and raucous playing. Masterful!

Here We Are [Chancer]—-Minimal at the onset, other tiny sounds enter into the track as it progresses…allowing it to become larger and larger. There is still a remarkable quiet to this entire CD….if you compare to previous releases. The stripped down sound of this track is so attractive to me thouigh….I love the sedate vocal delivery and the beautiful words….a master storyteller!

Mean Spirits—-Returning to a much fuller and noisier delivery, this is a fairly fast paced track for this band. The rhythm section is outstanding! The vocal is pushed to the back of the mix…much more removed and allowing the percussion to be the star of the show. This is great production and song placement……insuring the listeners attention is kept fully intact.

Simmer—-A great title for this track as that is what the song literally does….slowly simmers with a nice fuzzy delivery as it slowly becomes alive. But the track shimmers as well…with a slight sunny sound that makes me smile. This is classic SSPU…..they never disappoint me!

The Pit—-Delivering a slight electronic sounding intro with an entering bass line that makes you think of New Order, even the vocal is a bit different from anything we have experienced before. This is catchy as hell…not a happy song…but still comes across as pretty pleasant. This is melodic, beat driven and contagious as all hell!

Dots and Dashes [Enough Already]—-Seeming to carry the same energy from the previous track, this again has a real 80’s-90’s feel musically. Brian has a vocal with a slight echo added to it…making it seem even larger. This has an irresistible melody….a driving bass line and will stick in your brain for days! Superb!!!

Gun-Shy Sunshine—-Returning to the slower dirge that is this bands specialty, this is exquisite. The layers of sounds and percussion makes this remarkable. I love Brian and his voice…he has a pitch that seems even higher on this track. The music goes in and out….the bass ebbing and flowing between a sedate beat and an aggressive flurry. This is fantastic!

Out Of Breath—-Closing out this release with yet another classic sounding track, the bass is prevelant at the onset of the song…with nice controlled drumming that builds anticipation. Brian enters and delivers a vocal that even though pushed back is still the star of the show. this is intense, lyrically, allowing you to lose yourself in the words without becoming over excited and obliterated by the music… great ending to another stellar release!

**** 1/2 out of 5



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