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Silversun Pickups' 'Neck of the Woods' is complex

CD art cover titled

CD art cover titled "Neck of the Woods" by Silversun Pickups. Credit: Handout

Silversun Pickups sets out to shatter some myths with their new album "Neck of the Woods" (Dangerbird).

First off, the Los Angeles quartet doesn't sound like Smashing Pumpkins. Yes, singer-guitarist Brian Aubert's vocals do sit in the same breathy key as Billy Corgan, and they don't stray from there very often. However, everything else about the Pickups' sound does bounce all over the alt-rock spectrum.

The lush, dreamy pop of the first single "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" has little to do with the aggressive, latter-day-Radiohead rhythms of the crisscrossing "Busy Bees" beyond Aubert's voice. They build massive, nearly seven-minute epics like "Simmer," which would make many a prog-rock fan happy, as effectively as they churn out catchy industrial dance music like "The Pit," which binds Depeche Mode-like verses to Bush-like choruses for what should be a modern rock radio juggernaut this summer.

Another misconception thrown overboard is that Silversun Pickups is a shoe-gazer band steeped in fuzzed-out guitar. Thanks to producer Jacknife Lee, of U2 and R.E.M. fame, most of "Neck of the Woods" actually sounds pristine and exact, with the guitar and drums sounding especially crisp.

And finally, the idea that Silversun Pickups is a great radio band, able to roll out thrilling singles like "Lazy Eye" and "Panic Switch," but not a serious album-oriented band ends here, too. "Neck of the Woods" is solid from start to finish, showing off a variety of styles that the promising band has already mastered.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS

"Neck of the Woods"

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GRADE B+

BOTTOM LINE Deceptively complex slices of alt-rock

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