Better Nature

Better Nature feels like catharsis after a period of intense self-examination. Whereas the Silversun Pickups' 2012 release, Neck of the Woods, was less hook-driven than the L.A. band's previous efforts and more focused on darker atmospherics, its latest feels like the band has blasted through and returned to the light. From the catchy synth-rock opener “Cradle (Better Nature)” to the driving pop-rock track “Latchkey Kids,” there is an ebullient bent to much of the album, which provides an interesting juxtaposition to the album's weighty moments (e.g., the dark and moody “Ragamuffin”) and heavy themes (human interaction and connectivity). Singer Brian Aubert is as charismatic as ever and the energy on this record is electric, particularly on the standout track “Tapedeck,” which features everything from lively plinking piano keys to an almost tribal hip-hop beat that builds to a raucous rock crescendo. Better Nature is an absolute blast.