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November 28, 2014

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CD review: Silversun Pickups’ ‘Neck of the Woods’

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The Details

Neck of the Woods
Two and a half stars
By Silversun Pickups

LA’s Silversun Pickups burst into consciousness six years ago behind a catchy collection of rock songs reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins. At a 2010 Las Vegas tour stop, however, the Pickups played more like My Bloody Valentine, piling up noisy layers for a disorientingly dreamy effect. On third album Neck of the Woods, the band sounds like ... neither. There are bits of both—propulsive opener “Skin Graph” feels ready-made for arenas, while first single “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” coats its melody with pulsating shoegaze. Mostly, though, Woods finds the quartet exploring, testing out a different style on almost every new track. As much doesn’t succeed (the beats that open “Here We Are (Chancer),” the clubby Depeche Mode shimmer of “The Pit”) as does (guitar-heavy rocker “Mean Spirits,” slow-burner “Gun-Shy Sunshine”), but that’s to be expected. More surprising: Vocalist Brian Aubert elects not to push into the angrier range of his past, when doing so might just have made the record as exciting as it was intended to be.

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