Picture Show, the sophomore album by Neon Trees, a band that hails from Utah, is not what I expected, to say the least. And I don't mean that in a bad way.
I expected a lot of songs like the singles from the first album from two years ago, Habits, which had tracks that were amazingly upbeat and catchy, the kind of thing that really makes you just want to dance in situations that are completely inappropriate for dancing.
The album was not full of songs like this. Picture Show instead features a much more mature sound than what's found on their first album, a mellower sound that has a kind of ballad feel.
If I was going to compare the general feel of this album to songs from the first one, this album has less of an "Animal" feel and more of an "Our War" feel, which should surprise you because "Our War" was probably the least popular song in Habits. "Animal" made Neon Trees popular by quickly climbing the charts shortly after the album was released.
Expect a lot of angry hipsters to complain about how these guys have changed, despite the fact that the new album is fantastic.
Highlights in Picture Show:
"Everybody Talks", the only single released from Picture Show so far; this song is probably the most similar to Neon Trees's older material. With its upbeat and happy tone, you will find it hard to sit still when Tyler Glenn's over-the-top vocals hit the chorus.
"Mad Love" - this song represents the largest takeoff in a new direction for Neon Trees, as it is more of a stereotypical classical rock love song than you would expect from a band with roots as firmly in punk pop and dance rock as Neon Trees.
It is predominantly a duet between Elaine Bradley, the drummer who apparently is also a classically trained singer, and Glenn, the lead singer. (The other half of Neon Trees is made up of Chris Allen and Branden Campbell).
It is a decidedly more relaxed song than anything else in their repertoire, and it is a nice break about halfway through the album.
"Lessons in Love" - this song resulted from a collaboration with noted House artist Kaskade, and was remixed differently and released in 2011 on Kaskade's album Fire & Ice.
It features a lot of elements typical of the House genre, such as a heavy use of synth and an electronically generated echo in the background of the chorus.
With its powerful, fun bass line, this song will have you grooving in your seat.
"Trust" - "Lessons in Love" wasn't the only electronica influenced song in this album. "Trust" has an incredibly powerful electro-pop melody that will literally stay stuck in your head for the next four or five hours after listening.
Do not play this song before any important classes if you want to learn anything at all.