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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another thrilling ride, 12 May 2012
By 
Richard Tribe "richtribe" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
I've been a huge fan of SSUP for the last few years and have been eagerly awaiting this latest release. It does not disappoint.

True to form, the band have evolved significantly since the incredible 'Swoon' but without losing any of their distinctive power and off-kilter melodies. The new electronic elements give the album an added dimension which totally overcomes any sense of deja-vu and instantly gives the album a unique feel of its own.

SSPU disciples will know that the real beauty of their material often takes several plays to come into focus and this album is no exception, with extra depth and texture emerging at every listen (I'm currently up to about six). In this era of instant gratification, not many artists dare to include many of the strongest tracks in the second half of the album - but 'Neck of the Woods' steadily cranks up the tension through the first few songs before reaching a peak about halfway through and keeping its foot on the pedal from that point on.

The overall effect is a superbly thrilling ride that you just know will get better and better over time.

BTW: SSPU also happen to be one of the best live bands around. After more than 30 years of gigs, I would rate their appearance at Brighton Digital one of the most exciting I've ever been to. Please come back to the UK soon guys!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neck of the Woods..., 17 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
Following Swoon was an obvious challenge for SSPU and they have done well... that's to say there are some definate 'good' songs on there but nothing really jumps out to impress you. Skin Graft, Busy Bees and The Pit are immediate favourites but after the 6th or 7th replay the whole albumn has yet to grow on you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The blueprint for their finest album, 11 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
It's always nice when a band experiments with its typical sound. While 'Neck Of The Woods' is nothing drastically different to previous albums, it does follow the band's trademark sound into new and exciting territory.

Whereas 'Carnavas' and 'Swoon' could both be characterised by the use of distortion to emphasise linear songs with a dark edge, 'Neck Of The Woods' is charactised by the use of distortion to add depth and emphasis to more complex songs. There is never any doubt that this is a Silversun Pickups album. The sound is there; it is just expanded and more adventurous.

However this does cause tracks to run the risk of being too drawn out. 'Simmer' is one of these songs. It is a slow-burning song that is characterised by a scorching vocal melody and searing guitars. Sadly, it takes too long to reach boiling point and is hasty to begin cooling down again. But the depth and relentless flow do show the potential that the band's new sound has.

The sequencing of this album is also exceptional. Opening track 'Skin Graph' lays the foundation for the rest of the album with its gentle melodies that eventually build to a catchy and distorted refrain, sounding something like a shoegaze-style rendition of The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings'.
This sets the wheels in motion for second track 'Make Believe', which floats along breezily until it reaches its climax - a jam-like instrumental of danceable distortion with a sing-a-long vibe.
The album continues to flow beautifully as if it were designed to be a performance set list. Penultimate track 'Gun-Shy Sunshine' is a simply stunning shoegaze song that will immediately appeal to fans of The Horrors' 'Changing The Rain' with its mesmerising guitars and simple beat. This is the slowest song on the album which paves the way perfectly for final track 'Out Of Breath', which begins with frantic guitar notes that propel the song forward. From there it builds into one of the band's finest songs to date.

Although on the surface it may seem uncertain and even messy in places, digging a little deeper will reveal that 'Neck Of The Woods' is an album of daring depth and substance. While it may not be as instantly accessible as it's predecessors it does still contain some tracks that could easily have been included on previous releases and it builds the basis of a promising future for the band.

- Reviewed for Bypass Music News: ReVerb
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5.0 out of 5 stars Silversun Pickups reach new heights with Neck Of The Woods, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
So Silversun Pickups have dropped there new album "Neck of The Woods" and quite frankly its one of my favourite records right now

Sound:

Since they formed in 2002 the Silversun Pickups have created a fairly unique sound not quite Smashing Pumpkins, not quite Radiohead but Neck Of The Woods feels like they took a pinch of Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and even a bit of Nine Inch Nails and mashed it together into a dreamscape album. The album is around an hour but the songs feel alot longer (in a good way), however in order to really appreciate this album you need to listen to it from start to finish i honestly can't really pick out just one song and play it on it's own.

The album starts off with "Skin Graph" which sees vocalist/guitarist Brian Aubert strum together some elegant chords backed by keyboardist Joe Lester it starts off slow then erupts into what can only be described as some weird sort of horn sound which reminds me of something that Trent Reznor would do from Nine Inch Nails (perhaps it's Brian de tuning or bending his strings on his guitar) once the song properly start's i couldn't stop listening to the whole album as it twists and turns into this beautiful dream like soundscape.

Lyrics and Singing:

Brian and Nikki Monninger (bassist/back up vocalist) have such a perfect vocal harmony, it sounds fantastic with them singing together (usually during the chorus of a song)making the vocals sound beautifully haunting and almost other world like.

Lyrics wise In "Skin Graph" Brian starts shouting/screaming:

" The skin's alive; it's leaving!
The skin's alive; it's moving!
The skin's alive; it's leaving!
The skin's alive; it moves me! "

With full force and it sounds fantastic, however i do wish more songs would have him shouting/screaming as it sounds brilliant, Brian said that "Neck Of The Woods" reminds him of a horror movie and he's quite right in the song "The Pit" he sings:

" I'm marching through the branches in a fit of wanderlust
To see you in a black hole reaching out for something just
Silhouettes of neighbors dancing in disgust

I'm sure you recognize my noise and you heard about the Pit
Been told to be afraid of everything that lives within
But it's much worse where you are
So will you go for it? "

It reminds me of some sort of 80/90s horror film, and fits perfectly with the soundscape that we've come to known from the Silversun Pickups.

Overall Impression:

Silversun Pickups have crafted a quality album and in my opinion Joe the keyboardist and Christopher Guanlao the drummer steal the show on this album, Joe's eerie keyboard synths mixed with Chris's animalistic style drumming blends wonderfully together, one of my complaints however would be that Brian's guitar does at times seem quite low in the mix compared to songs like "Panic Switch" and "There's No Secrets This Year" from 2009's Swoon so if you are a fan of the guitar heavy songs from previous releases you may only like the track "Mean Spirits" which sounds like a B-Side from Swoon.

Overall i would recommend "Neck Of The Woods" to anyone as it's a quality album with each song sounding alot different from one another, each song taking their own twists and turns and each one blending into the soundscape that is "Neck Of The Woods".

5/5
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moody and magnificent, 10 Sept. 2012
By 
Anthony Lord "seldom seen kidding" (Bledlow Ridge Bucks UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
Contrary to the belief of many music press reviewers I believe Neck of The Woods is the strongest of the Pickups triumvirate of studio albums. And the track order suits me fine because I think Skin Graph is one of the best tracks on the album and I have not stopped playing it since downloading it. The mood is generally sombre and, as suits 'shoe gazers', introspective but the orchestration and production values show a growing maturity without compromising the style that made them so good to begin with.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love to play and sing along, 10 May 2012
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
There is something thrilling about hearing loud - quiet - loud throwback music. Silversun Pickups have completed two albums of this and now they have mixed things up a little for album number three. It isn't until the latter stages and in particular the outstanding Mean Spirits that this formulae is in evidence. In fact the album starts off sounding like a three minute warning with siren sounding guitars - but Skin Graph has a more slow burning approach than we are used to from SSPU. This approach at first may leave you feeling disappointed. However, this is a more complete album than previous efforts, the approach lets a lot of the songs really breathe. Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) the lead single, for instance, seems an odd choice on first listen. However, it really grows with repeated listens. The Pit starts off like a New Order track - you will be pinching yourself as you will be convinced Peter Hook is there somewhere.

This is a step forward sound wise, a true album with the longevity that makes you keep coming back. You will be hard pressed to find a better rock album this year, certainly its my favourite so far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My new favourite Album, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
Since buying this I have pretty much not listened to anything else. It is an excellent album, perhaps a little heavier att ime than previous work. I love Nerve Endings and Skin Graph in particular. If you like any of SPs other work you will love this too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a grower, 18 May 2012
By 
Oli Grünfeld (DAGENHAM, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
It really is a grower. Because the other two albums are so good I was looking forward to "Neck of the Woods" a lot. Initially I was very disappointed.

Where was the "Panic Switch"? Where was the "Lazy Eye"? Nothing seemed to be a stand out track.

Second play; same again.

It took until the third play.

:-)

Absolutely nothing to worry about. Quality album. The songs are not as immediate -- they're deeper, and all the better for it.

And of course, once you get used to it you can hear the trademark SSPU sound is still there.

It's a seriously good album. You won't be disappointed, (except perhaps at first).
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4.0 out of 5 stars loving it, 28 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
I wasn't sure who this band were till I heard skin graph on one of my favourite shows the secret circle so I decided to find out who they were. I like alot of the other songs on the album too.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome but for the track order!, 8 July 2012
By 
John Dempsey (Brighton, East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Neck of the Woods (Audio CD)
I was bought this off Amazon for my birthday.

Possibly one of the greatest albums of all time .....except it may well be dumbed down to simply "select", because the tracks are in the wrong order ......in fact, in reverse, except track 3 should see us out!

"Neck of the Woods" by Silversun Pickups, starts heavy and fearsome and gradually orientates to accessible pop-rock. The natural logistic mind progresses the other way. Always leave the listener feeling challenged or emotionally exhausted! You introduce the concept and THEN push the boundary. You don't see rollercoasters with the big leap at the start; anticipation is the drug!

I only found this basic anomaly when MediaGo loaded the tracks on my phone in what transpired to be the correct logical order; from 11 to 1.

Track 11, "Out of breath" is brilliantly upbeat with a singalong chorus to get us going, but certainly no finale. Then "Gun-shy sunshine" introduces some trad-rock rhythms followed by more pop-rock in" Dots and Dashes", but this time with a varied four-verse structure. "The Pit" follows suit.

We are getting exciting, so the album launches headlong into one of the most creative rock formations seen outside geology. "Simmer" moves from cliffhanging, atmospheric bar patterns interspersed with almost subliminal quasi-rests. Finally we are hit by a coda with a multi-rhythmic wall of noise, only to be caught out with a minimalist fade.

Now we are at the peak, so the only route is directional change. "Mean Spirits" is anthemic, Nirvana plus 100%, contrasted by "Here we are", the lightest track on the album, ironically showpiecing Chris Guanlao's drumming more than ever.

"Busy Bees" is a release back to more formula pop-rock of Dots and dashes, except that Guanlao has now taken it up a level in complexity.

The most popular track on the album, no.3, "Bloody Mary" is a mesmerically dark, tonally stimulating piece that should have been the last track.

Beyond that, track 2, "Make Believe" is etched in a 7/10 tempo with mischievous 4/8s thrown in, followed by "Skin Graph", a raucous grating challenge in symphony form, with an almost subliminal adagio breaking the assault.

Possibly a good ending; but the true finale should have been track 3. Otherwise this is the how the journey runs.

Now, remember .......THIS IS REVERSE ORDER!

I wish someone could tell me how to reverse the track listing on the CD without corrupting or erasing the data, so that I can listen to the optimal order on my Blu-Ray.

But the whole issue proves how crucial track-ordering is. The right order on "Neck of the woods" could have been the difference between millions and billions!

I suggest everyone buy this album and find some way of playing in reverse order! You will be glad of the advice!
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Neck of the Woods by Silversun Pickups (Audio CD - 2012)
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