Album Review

Rachel Mooney

Although the lyrical content and composition at points are underdeveloped, the music is catchy.

As I begin listening to the Neon Trees’ recent album Habits, a husky, unique voice opens and immediately the song takes a brisk direction which is scarily reminiscent of The Killers. After only 5 minutes of research, I found that Neon Trees did in fact open for The Killers a couple of years ago and now I know why. Only a few songs in I decide that Neon Trees seems to be a mix of The Killers meets Family Force 5 meets Ok Go; all favorite bands of mine. Unfortunately Neon Trees seems to lack what makes these bands work in all of their innate quirkiness; originality. Habits is definitely energetic and amusing but most of the tracks feel forced into the typical intro-verse-hook-verse-hook-bridge-repeat formula that inevitably precedes musical monotony.

Despite this quality, ‘Sins of My Youth’ is an interesting enough mix of electronic pop and ‘Love and Affection’ shows that despite some vapid lyrics, lead singer Tyler Glenn has a big voice and the chops to hold his own with the big boys. With almost an Adam Levine control, he has potential for serious respect if the music on Habits had any variety. ‘Animal’ again showcases some lyrics that actually begin to make me feel silly but a beat that is meant for dancing and before I know it, I am singing the same lyrics I laughed at moments earlier. ‘Your Surrender’ opens slowly but shortly breaks into yet another synth line and chorus and at this point the songs begin to blur together into one enmeshed web of pop-tastic dance music; one indiscernible song which isn’t groundbreaking by any means but fantastically entertaining nonetheless. The track ‘Girls and Boys in School’ pretty much sums up the album: an awkward teenager that hasn’t found their niche. The songs are likable and catchy, but all sound eerily parallel until ‘In the Next Room,’ which showcases a bright, jazzy beat that stands out from every other song on the album. The chorus is infectious and despite the lackluster effect the rest of the album had on me, I had this song stuck in my head for days.

The original album is eight tracks which may seem brief. After listening to the first bonus track which sounds so typical it’s nearly painful, I’m tempted to skip the last bonus track altogether. However, ‘Farther Down’ makes me glad I don’t. They slow it down with an unexpectedly soulful melody that is different from anything else found on Habits and I have to wonder who decided to leave this off the “original” album. Although the lyrical content and composition at points are underdeveloped, the music is catchy and Glenn’s voice has great energy.

75/100