Neon Trees is riding its pop momentum into Raleigh this Saturday.
Having hit the mainstream more than four years ago, and Provo, Utah-based band dropped its third studio album Pop Psychology on April 22. Blending together the best qualities of both of its previous albums, the new set of glowy pop rock tracks is tightly cohesive inside a range of topics. What it lacks in an obvious outlier of a single it makes up for in being a supremely listenable album from start to finish, with arguably some of the best tracks saved for last. In the middle of a national tour, Neon Trees will have a chance to show off to the North Carolina crowd at Lincoln theater in Raleigh, May 24 at 8 p.m.
The obvious standout on the album is the single “Sleeping With A Friend,” whose opening starts out sounding like a CHVRCHES redo but quickly easily danceable and gives lead singer Tyler Glenn a chance to show some vocal skin. “Foolish Behavior” and “Voices in the Halls,” meanwhile, are pleasantly 80s—that is, equalizer-happy. The latter’s chorus is a fun, modern version of Eurythmics minus the underwhelming feeling you get from Eurythmics.
But the real hero track worth skipping to is “Living in Another World.” The bass, drums, vocals and equalizers are intermittently staccato but at all the right times and backup harmonies push the pre-choruses “Unavoidable” takes advantage of drummer Elaine Bradley’s pristine backups. It’s hard not to wonder why she’s not at the microphone on tracks with her range and precision. “Living in Another World” starts fast and never keeps you waiting, with a lead-in of no more than eleven seconds and hitting the alternatively tongue-twisting and roaring chorus. “Caffeine, thinking of my teenage youth / I’m alive, but I can barely move.” This honesty is how Neon Trees should keep up being Neon Trees if (and when) they keep writing.
The album was conceived after Glenn suffered a breakdown, climbing out of his emotions by churning out the album.
“I want people to feel the album’s hopeful energy and be able to escape for the 35 minutes that they’re listening to it,” Glenn has said in previous interviews.
The band has had the chance to help many people escape since their founding in 2012, touring with the likes of Maroon 5, Panic! at the Disco and Duran Duran. The quartet’s songs have also hit as high as No. 1 on Billboard’s alternative songs chart and No. 2 for rock songs.
Habits and Picture Show, the band’s previous two albums, centered more heavily on guitar and electric pop, respectively. Marginal fans will of course know “Everybody Talks” and “Animal,” both of which will no doubt be replayed and replayed to become some of those nostalgic pop songs people reference for years to come. That’s the one thing missing from Pop Psychology. but the other albums were also lacking in the happy maturity the band has now. We may not get a terrifically memorable track out of this album, but we get a terrifically memorable band.