However, on this release, while the aural landscape is definitively SSPU, the band have taken strong musical direction from moody ‘80s pop, as opposed to sourcing from their familiar influences, perhaps in an effort to shake off the stigma of being tagged a post-grunge band.
First single, Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings), slowly broods in layers, based on a wafting keyboard line and ethereal choral backing vocals, before coming into focus with a singular guitar and vocal line. Lead singer Brian Aubert's vocal delivery remains characteristically husky, further emphasising the band's mystery. Listening to a SSPU album is best done as a whole and in a singule sitting; extracting a specific track doesn't give the scope needed to put the album into context.
While Skin Graph, Dots And Dashes and Gun Shy Sunshine are your more obvious SSPU tracks, Simmer explores an electronic-based sound and The Pit delves into some of that trashy '80s pop. Here We Are (Chancer) is a mellow, reflective song.
Neck Of The Woods is a dark album of self-discovery for singer Aubert and while it doesn't have the obvious standout tracks that have littered previous albums, the songs are beautifully structured and produced immaculately to effectively reflect the band's subtle songwriting nuances that will ensure this album will sound different on each listen.
This week's new sets include the return of UK's Foals plus local acts Last Dinosaurs, The Snowdroppers and The Paper Kites.