Neck Of The Woods
Dangerbird Records 
Fire Note Says: Silversun Pickps third record Neck Of The Woods defines their sound and drives it home.
Swoon  was definitely a break out record for the Silversun Pickups as it brought many new fans to the fold and even earned them a Grammy nod. Now I can't say that we were too impressed with that record as it had its moments but overall sounded like it tried to hard to shrug off the Smashing Pumpkins comparisons and seemed to extend its songs just to have longer songs.
So now the bands third record, Neck Of The Woods, comes along with high expectations and it flows much smoother than Swoon did with its long muscular guitar tracks. Before when the Silversun Pickups extended past the 5 minute mark on a track it seemed that it lost direction. Here on Neck Of The Woods, 8 of the 11 songs pass 5 minutes but they all are much more involved and have purpose to hit their point. This is the improvement that I hear on this record and the moments that make the opening track "Skin Graph" and first single "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" soar as album highlights.
The comparisons will still be here to the Pumpkins but that is mostly because of frontman Brian Aubert's Corgan like vocal approach and not nearly as much about the music. That is a good thing for the Silversun Pickups as Neck Of The Woods represents their unique sound. The record still has that 90's alternative rock nation vibe going on behind the scenes but it does not impede the record. What I do wish is that more songs would rip out of the gate like the revved up distorted rocker "Mean Spirits" that is not only one of the shorter tracks on the record at 4:49 but one of its best. I still believe that the band needs to have more of a balance to what their doing because some of longer tracks on Neck Of The Woods start to have a similar sound and are a little difficult to tell apart after one listen.
Neck Of The Woods succeeds best when the Silversun Pickups crank the guitars and try something new. The bouncing next to last track "Gun-Shy Sunshine" is a perfect example as it is one of the more tamer tracks on the record but has such smooth transitions within the track that it gives the band an entire new swagger. For all the fans that really enjoyed Swoon, Neck Of The Woods will be a thrilling ride. For listeners still on the fence this is a record that works better in small doses and has individual songs that really show off the bands potential as Neck Of The Woods is worth checking out and one of their best releases yet.
Key Tracks: "Skin Graph", "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)", "Mean Spirits"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Silversun Pickups: Swoon [Fire Note Review 4/16/09]
Silversun Pickups Website
Silversun Pickups Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony