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!
As I occasionally advise most of my peers who remain stuck in the "classic" rock of the '70s, there is some really good stuff being made these days if you make the effort to seek it out (much as you did with the "underground" bands of the '70s, guys!). Having said that, I have over the years become increasingly selective of modern bands that are not overly derivative, show imaginative songwriting and arrangement skills, and that are worth my (increasingly more valuable) time and money. I can now unequivocally add Silversun Pickups to a list that comprises Porcupine Tree, The Gathering, The Doves, Elbow, and a very few others, whose new records I will buy sight unseen (or hearing unheard!!). Their latest offering builds on the great promise of the earlier "Swoon" to deliver one of the most inspired album's worth of rock compositions I have heard this side of the new millennium. Gun-shy Sunshine? You bet!
Love Silversun Pickups, and am so glad to be listening to the new album. I fell in love with it listening to the songs first time, but I know what they mean it'll take a few listens to get to know which songs are which. If you like SSPU you won't be disappointed with this. Its AMAZING!!