Neck of the Woods is the third album from L.A.’s Silversun Pickups, and the most recent since 2009’s Swoon, which featured their first number one single. Frontman Brian Aubert brings a great deal of intimacy to this new collection that can be heard in his cadence and his breath, but some will find the vocals lacking in a certain edge that the rhythmic crunch of guitar and drums seem to call out for. A great slow burning buildup on “Busy Bees” runs for two and a half minutes before reaching a short guitar break and a chorus that doesn’t sound as furious on the album as it must in the front row of a sweaty club. Another track that doesn’t quite work is “Gun-Shy Sunshine,” which besides being fun to say, opens like a mellow b-side before transitioning into a funky chorus and a spacey guitar break. Unfortunately there’s no real destination, just a lot of heavy repetition. Besides the obvious radio candidate “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings),” which is driven by Cut Copy-esque synth, there’s a pervading similarity to most of Neck Of The Woods that makes it difficult to differentiate from one rhythmic guitar riff to the next. Aubert’s vocals soar and hug the instrumental melodies when they should, but you can’t shake the feeling that he, along with the rest of Silversun Pickups, are holding back and keeping things a little too clean.
Download: “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)”, “Here We Are (Chancer)”
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