Neon Trees – Pop Psychology (Rating 4 out of 5)
An 80’s Synth-Pop/New Wave throwback in the best of ways record, Pop Psychology, the new record from Neon Trees will make you smile. dance, contemplate life in the new millennium, and hit the play button over and over again.
Blending New Wave, Dance, and Indie Pop the band features Tyler Glenn on vocals and keyboards, guitarist Chris Allen, drummer and vocalist Elaine Bradley, and bass player Branden Campbell. Filled with more mainstream hooks than an episode of Dangerous Catch , their latest record has a certain Jamiroquoi “Virtual Insanity” vibe to it in places, Culture Club in others, and even a touch of Future Islands contemporary Pop.
The sound is polished to a fine sheen, and the songwriting is strong and mature with a general theme of love, sex, and life in the internet age. “Sleeping with a Friend” is the lead-off single and could have been released in 1984 not 2004. The song features the clear, prominent vocals of Tyler Glen, and rather effectively covers the dangers of moving from the friend zone to the friends with benefits stage of a relationship.
“Teenager in Love” covers just about all of the emotional stages of a first crush teenage romance including not wanting to leave your room during the low points, and “Text Me in the Morning” has our hero waiting anxiously for a booty call text the morning after a night of dancing the the tango until their heads got dizzy. It is never quite made clear why he couldn’t stick around, and since he claims he doesn’t want her sex, just her text, we are sure his motives are sincere. Spoiler alert, we never really find out if he closes the deal.
“Living in Another World” is probably the strongest song on the album, with some nice guitar work complementing the keyboard, and “First Things First” is semi-autobiographical describing the journey that Campbell and Allen made from Los Angeles to Utah where the band was formed.
With groups like the The Neon Trees, Future Islands, A Great Big World, along with several others, the present and future of Indie Pop is very bright indeed.