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Review: Neon Trees’ album paints summer picture

Neon Trees, the trans-pop punk band who produced the top-40 hit “Animal” in 2010, brings the same electronic feel in its new album, “Picture Show.” While the synth-’80s sound might not resonate with everyone, fans of the genre will take pleasure in the band’s new project.

The songs on “Picture Show” are highly catchy, though also heavily produced and auto-tuned, and a new hit single could easily be on the horizon for the Utah band. The album has a uniform upbeat style, perfect for summertime.

The album’s first single, “Everybody Talks,” closely follows the same formula of the band’s previous success, “Animal,” starting with a laid-back, cool attitude followed by a catchy refrain and even catchier chorus.

American teenagers can find numerous additions to their 2012 summer playlists in “Picture Show.” The lyrics and beat bring a Southern-California, summer-love feel to the album, similar to an electro-punk version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

While there is an upbeat sound throughout the album, some songs stray from the happy image of Hollywood and take audiences into the struggles that fame and fortune can bring.

Songs such as the angst-ridden “Teenage Sounds,” in which frontman Tyler Glenn sings about the troubles of making rock ‘n’ roll in a pop world, bring some depth, but distract from the album’s many summer anthems. Moving to an even darker place, the irony-driven “Hooray for Hollywood” chants the names of recently deceased celebrities (Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston to name a few) throughout the song’s bridge.

A lot of music fans might scoff at the often times simple and contrived melodies of “Picture Show,” but the album brings a great, warm-weather feel for general audiences to put the top down and enjoy the summer sun.

Grade: B-

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