By the Neck

by Matthew Fiander

15 March 2012

cover art


By the Neck

(Campers' Rule)
US: 6 Mar 2012
UK: import

Brooklyn outfit backwords have a sound as unassuming as their uncapitalized name, though their acidic folk-pop can also be striking. Though they often present themselves as some sort of psychedelic twist on twee, on the bright sway of “Break My Spine” or the grey nostalgic tones of “Anywhere Now”, the band is best when it stretches past basic pop conventions. “Way Around” is the best track here, clocking past seven minutes and building on a patient soulful space to become a towering, grinding rock song with unpredictable tangles of brittle guitar. It works because it breaks the dreamy feel of the record and surprises with its moody shift into something larger. Unfortunately, it also dwarfs the songs around it as they feel slight and unmemorable in comparison. The dusty vibe of By the Neck is an interesting one, and the atmosphere of these songs works, but as a whole the album never gets past sounding like another nostalgic rock record, because—with the exception of “Way Around”—it never pushes at the well-worn walls it puts up.

By the Neck



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

Saul Williams Commands Attention at Summerstage (Photos + Video)

// Notes from the Road

"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.

READ the article