Silversun Pickups -- one of my favorite bands. I have seen them live 4X, including this past weekend at KROQ's Weenie Roast music festival in Irvine where, as usual, they mesmerized. If you haven't seen them live, find a way to do it.
So, imagine my anticipation for the band's first new album in 3 years -- "Neck of the Woods." And, imagine my satisfaction in finding that the album was available for streaming on Tuesday -- day and date with the actual album release.
On the heels of my recent "Snap Review" of The Shins latest album, here is my snap assessment of the Silversun Pickups new album (by the way, "snap" means that it is a gut/visceral "take" on the album after a quick listen; and, in this case, I confess I already have listened to the album a few times -- nonetheless, it still qualifies as a "snap" review, because this is only day 2 of listen-ability).
First, let me cut to the chase -- THIS ALBUM IS THE BAND'S STRONGEST ALBUM TO DATE! Every single song is strong -- every single one of them. No filler. It is rich with texture. It is mysterious (as are all of the band's best songs). Its lyrics are enigmatic. It is faithful to the band's (and lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert's unique and instantly-recognizable voice), but it is more sophisticated than any previous effort. It is faithful to the band's signature interplay of throbbing guitar and pulsating base. I give it my top rating -- and the highest rating I have ever given any album during my 6 years of blogging. Classic! In a world of throw-away bands, Silversun Pickups are one of the few "real deals" -- true artists.
Here's my track-by-track "take":
(1) "Skin Graph" -- opening track. Strong out of the gates. Up-tempo. Intriguing. Showcases "the voice". Thumbs up, strongly.
(2) "Make Believe" -- up-tempo again. Syncopated. Strong. Rocks. Can the album go for the hat-trick right out of the gates?
(3) "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" -- a resounding "YES" to that last question. This is the album's first single of course. Loved it even when I first heard it. Different, yet faithful. Beyond catchy. Great choice for the first single.
(4) "Busy Bees" -- out of the gates, its sound is similar to "Growing Old Is Getting Old" from the band's last album, Swoon. But this is no clone. This stands on its own merits ... strongly again, as it crescendos up to a strong climax.
(5) "Here We Are (Chancer)" -- brings the tempo down a notch. Mysterious. Strong (yet again). What can I say, so far, so good for every song.
(6) "Mean Spirits" -- a stand-out track. Love this track. Loved it when I first heard it live this past Saturday. Love it now. Richly up-tempo. Pulsating bass line. Rocks!
(7) "Simmer" -- true to the track's name, this brings it down ... just a bit initially ... then expands and enlarges. Yet again, a winner.
(8) "The Pit" -- still at mid-tempo to up-tempo mode. Machine gun syncopated drums -- a Silversun hallmark. Once again, the verdict is in -- keep listening!
(9) "Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)" -- mid-tempo. Strong. Am running out of positive adjectives, obviously.
(10) "Gun-Shy Sunshine" -- slows it down ... a bit. Once again ....
(11) "Out of Breath" -- the closing track. Quiet ... at first. Then expands, in the band's signature way. Punctuated by machine gun drums. Ends with machine gun drums. Leaves you wanting more. That's why I am listening to the album once again right now ... track-by-track.
Here is my summary:
11 tracks ALL STRONG
11 tracks ALL worthy of the "Silversun Pickups" name/experience
5 stars out of 5! (and I am no easy reviewer ....)
Trust me on this one -- this band is the real deal. This album is the real deal. Get it. Listen to it. Experience it. And, get your tickets to see them live now.