Picture Show, the follow-up effort by Utah-based Neon Trees after their debut album Habits put them on the map a couple of years ago, is a hook-filled, danceable record that will certainly continue the band’s momentum and add to their already growing fan base.
The band’s sound, which could be best described as dance/pop/punk, ventures more into synth-rock for this album, with several of the tracks driven by a solid synth bass line. I have to say, I personally like this direction. The opening track “Moving In the Dark” starts with a synth line that instantly grabbed my attention. The momentum continues for the next 5-6 tracks, with catchy beats and singable melodies, only mellowing out slightly with the track “Close to You,” which in my opinion happens to be one of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks on the record. Tyler Glenn’s lead vocals are diverse and expressive, soft and melancholy one moment, and growling the next. And Elaine Bradley has to be the best girl drummer on the planet, if you don’t count Sheila E. She just makes it rock.
Other must-listens on Picture Show include “Mad Love” and “Everybody Talks”—and if “Hooray for Hollywood” doesn’t get your feet moving, you need to wake up from that coma. Just saying.
There are already a few critics that have pegged this album as unimaginative or lacking direction, but frankly, I don’t see what the fuss is about. If you’ve ever heard Neon Trees live (like I have), you know this is not a band with a deep message or mission, exploring the inexplicable meaning of life with their songs. This is a band that wants you to move your feet, get you dancing. Yeah, the teenage angst stuff is there, but it’s not supposed to be mind-blowing. That’s simply not what this music is for.
Sometimes, you just wanna rock, and that’s what Neon Trees is best at. So leave ‘em alone already. Picture Show will make you happy. Buy it.
ALBUM RATING: 4 stars (out of five)