Silversun Pickups’ latest album, Neck of the Woods, was released last week, and it’s stellar.

If you’re looking for a Panic Switch or Lazy Eye, you might end up disappointed – but if you’re interested in SSPU’s experimental side, this might turn out to be your cup of musical tea.

For one, this is a long album. There aren’t any short songs here; in fact they’re all pretty spread-out. The length of this record allows the band to really go down new avenues. Skin Graph, the album’s 6-minute opener, sets the tone amicably. A slow intro gives way to shimmery guitars and a blast of drums, and it isn’t until nearly the 3-minute mark that the song has its “chorus”.

People have always tended to point out the band’s not-so-hidden love for the shoegaze-y, distorted, moody alternative rock that early Smashing Pumpkins turned out. Taking into consideration their sonic love for the Pumpkins, it isn’t far-fetched to call Neck of the Woods their Siamese Dream.

This isn’t to say, however, that this will turn off ALL fans of Swoon and Carnavas – this album might prove divisive to some (as ballsy albums usually do), since it’s much more of a “let’s try something new” affair, but those that “get it” will love it.

Make Believe sounds a bit Swoon-ish, although it takes a while to get going since it’s another lengthy song.

In terms of a “radio hit”, look for Mean Spirits to end up dominating the airwaves soon. It has that Silversun single sound – fuzzy, electronic-tinged guitars and Brian Aubert’s unmistakable vocal delivery. And it’s damn catchy, too.

Simmer is another key point on the album, an extended exploration into the emotive aspects of their sound as a unit. I can imagine a pretty sweet light show going along with this song live, another tune that dabbles in electronica with its synth blasts and urgent tones.  The same can be said for The Pit, which starts out sounding like a song on the Drive soundtrack.

http://youtu.be/Cejf7E_KKlg

It would be great to see Silversun give Neck of the Woods the full album treatment live, as this is a solid “album experience” more than it is a collection of individual songs. Further, it might actually be a better experience to listen to it all the way through rather than track-by-track, which is a rare thing to say in today’s iTunes-singles dominated music world.

Dots and Dashes (Enough Already) even reminds me a bit of Kasabian, those delightful U.K. electro-rockers who are a personal favorite of mine. It’s weird to say Silversun sounds like Kasabian, but the song’s groove-laden rhythm and melody remind me of something Sergio & the gang would come up with.

If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, Neck of the Woods is a “different” type of album from Silversun Pickups. With this album, they really spread their wings, so to speak, and it results in one of the most solid albums of the year so far.

Personally, I can’t wait to hear where they go from here, because this is one damn good record.