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The year 2012 has proved to be one of the most prolific years to date for Los Angeles alt rock group Silversun Pickups. This upcoming Memorial Day weekend the band will be playing the Sasquatch! Music Festival, for this year’s annual Record Store Day the group released a three track 10” vinyl with three previously unreleased songs, “Seasick”, “Broken Bottles” and “Ribbons and Detours” left over from their Swoon sessions, and the band contributed to the Bob Dylan tribute release Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International, covering “Not Dark Yet” for the record. In addition to all of that, they put out Neck of the Woods.
May of this year saw the band’s third studio release taking off with a bang as it opened near the top of the iTunes top 100 albums on the day of release and hit the top spot the following day. Neck of the Woods surely delivers, remaining true to the band’s haunting and beautiful sound. Fans from the era of “Panic Switch” will not be disappointed with Neck of the Woods since it oozes with the band’s signature distorted instrumentals and Aubert’s dripping evocative vocals.
The record’s first single, “Bloody Mary”, offers up the best of Lester’s sound manipulation building upon repeated melodies until reaching a swell of sound that bleeds into the severance of Aubert’s vocals. The track is easily one of the more upbeat cuts on the album and leaves room for some shoe-gaze inspired hip swaying before fizzling out into the end of the song with some of the band’s iconic distortion and added white noise. “Busy Bees” showcases some solid percussion by Guanlao for the track’s intro as well as some instrumental isolation focusing on keys and guitar riffs in between echoing vocals.
Three more stand outs on the record include “The Pit”, a track laden with percussion licks and sound manipulation as the basis. It is a cut that effortlessly represents a medium tempo track and it seeps into pleasant accents of guitar mingling perfectly with Aubert and Monninger’s vocal duet. Two of the more powerful songs on the album, “Dots and Dashes” and “Mean Spirits”, both tracks accented with a heavier emphasis on the rhythm section, plugging guitar and yearning vocals. Both grittier songs draw inspiration from punk and grunge era counterparts.
Neck of the Woods stays true to the sound Silversun Pickups have perfected blended in the past, once again combining alternative rock and grunge roots with solid execution.