Neon Treesâ€™ sophomore album Picture Show serves up a slice of the â€™80s with smooth synth-pop sound accenting its foundation of rockâ€™nâ€™roll. The album boasts several anthemic tracks that use buoyant melodies to explore relatable themes like rebellion, conformity, and youth. At the same time, the album is weighed down by less-memorable songs which cover similar subjects and sound with significantly less spark.
Picture Show leads with its most memorable material, with â€œMoving In The Darkâ€ and â€œTeenage Soundsâ€ joining first single â€œEverybody Talksâ€ to form a trifecta of attitude-infused tracks that start out the album on a high note. Driving percussion and punk undertones combined with biting lyrics like â€œI’m tired of everybody trying to be a DJ / Yeah I can also pick my favorite songs and press playâ€ ensure the opening tracks pack plenty of punch. Singer Tyler Glenn demonstrates his vocal power and diversity throughout the album, ranging from moody growling and a monologue in â€œHooray For Hollywoodâ€ to a heartfelt ballad sound in â€œClose to You.â€
Despite the albumâ€™s solid beginning, many of the remaining tracks fade to the background without leaving any sort of lasting impression. â€œTrustâ€ stretches on for six minutes with a lackluster instrumental closer that might make your finger itch to skip to the next track, while â€œStill Youngâ€ attempts to stand as the albumâ€™s quintessential nostalgic track but lacks any actual emotional pull. These tracks, along with a handful of others, fall flat in comparison to the albumâ€™s powerful lead material.
Overall, Picture Show is a mixed bag of several standout songs to transport you back a few decades and many tracks that fall into the â€œfillerâ€ category. The album doesnâ€™t explore growing up in a new or profound manner, but for the most part it will evoke youthful feelings while remaining easy on the ears.