Album Review: Neon Trees – I Can Feel You Forgetting Me

Neon Trees I Can Feel You Forgetting About Me album cover

Rarely does an opening band impress but when Neon Trees opened for Duran Duran in 2011 on the All You Need Is Now tour they were hard not to notice.

A tireless frontman in Tyler Glenn along with spirited guitar riffs from Chris Allen, Branden Campbell’s pop heavy bass lines and hardly a one-two time keeper in drummer Elaine Bradley added up to an enjoyable performance and adept lead-in. Keep an eye on this band!

Indeed, it wasn’t long before Neon Trees soon became a relatively mainstream act thanks to their already released debut album Habits from 2010 then their 2012 smash follow-up Picture Show which featured “Everybody Talks.” Neon Trees capitalized on their stardom by offering Pop Psychology another solid release in 2014 but the band sort of went dark until…

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Today, Neon Trees dropped their fourth album I Can Feel You Forgetting Me (hey, only because it’s been six years!) another fine collection of pop songs that draws from the 80s and implements a more upbeat contemporary adult style of alternative rock sound that reflects a bit of seriousness and maturity while keeping their musical sense of fun intact. I think it’s a fair assessment to say the band more or less wears their emotions on their sleeve (see album title) and they hardly shy away from this on I Can Feel You Forgetting Me.

Neon Trees I Can Feel You Forgetting Me Album Review

Neon Trees opens the 10-song 33 minute I Can Feel You Forgetting Me with a string of catchy upbeat yet borderline melodramatic songs in “Nights,” the exemplar “Used to Like,” also the album’s first released single from nearly a year ago, then “Holy Ghost” followed by the really fun, deliciously 80s sounding  “Skeleton Boy.”  Punchy rhythms, straight forward melodies and memorable choruses along with genteel vocals from Glenn who sounds more refined on this record than any of the past Neon Trees offerings. He’s coming into his own vocally and developing a recognizable tone.

The boy band sounding “Mess Me Up” takes I Can Feel You Forgetting Me in a totally different direction. Clearly, personal reflections from Glenn who incorporated his therapy session experiences on  Pop Psychology proving he has no issues with telling it like it is. “Mess Me Up” keeps it real for Neon Trees lyrically but doesn’t provide the pep or joy that accompanies the classic Neon Trees sound.

“Living Single” opens the second half of I Can Feel You Forgetting Me and returns the spark that carries through the remaining songs. “Everything Is Killing Me” should work as a second single thanks to its fun groove and “Going Through Something” incorporates a cool synth beat and touchy drumming that leaves a memorable impression. “When the Night Is Over” doesn’t stray from the Neon Trees formula and “New Best Friend” finishes off the album nicely with an easy harmony that lasts.

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Neon Trees have a gift in would-be writing droopy goopy lyrics that could mire you in depression but instead lift you up. Rather than take the woe-is-me route in their song writing they implement a brush it off my shoulders and embrace life beat that allows the listener to sing or tap along with a smile.

This formula has worked well for Neon Trees, thus with no reason to deviate from what works, I Can Feel You Forgetting Me doesn’t exactly return the Neon Trees to form after a six year absence, because the band never forgot about their music.

Grade: B

Neon Trees I Can Feel You Forgetting Me Track List:

1. Nights
2. Used to Like
3. Holy Ghost
4. Skeleton Boy
5. Mess Me Up
6. Living Single
7. Everything is Killing Me
8. Going Through Something
9. When the Night is Over
10. New Best Friend