The Neighbourhood has that cool kid vibe. I didn’t think I was cool enough upon first listen. They remind me of the older kids in Dazed and Confused, who bring the young newbie into the fold, allowing him a glimpse into the cooler side of life where sex, drugs and rock & roll mesh together into one big party. Afterall, that’s where we all want to be, right?
Relatively new to the scene, this band possesses a confidence I rarely see in new bands. The imagery and presence seems to be real. They don’t seem cookie-cutter like so many new acts I run into. Their style is true California, a blend of the melancholia, the trivial, endless sprawl, combined with an intimate, conscious effort to find something more worthwhile.
The sound itself, on a pure musical basis reminds me of bands like Muse and Vampire Weekend. They have the chops and patience, noticeable immediately in the opening track ‘How’, of the kind of band that could rock a large crowd, or would make young girls and their friends bob their heads and sway their hips in a small club setting. I can imagine Kendrick Lamar sampling from ‘W.D.Y.W.F.M’ on a new banger.
‘Sweater Weather’ which I might describe as their most vibed out song, opens with that sweet click and bass drum track. The vocals invite you to sing along. The video for this song, which I recommend checking out, holds honesty in its visual chemistry with the music. I grew up in Southern California, and after listening to this song, I am reminded of all the endless possibilities the sand, the water and rock & roll are supposed to open us up to. Overall it’s a great song, even coming packed with it’s own ‘Karma Police’ styled ending as the song shifts energy, never dragging along at any point. By the end, you can’t help but sing along.
The album unfolds in a natural way. You feel small, like you’re living in a sand castle and as you watch the world grow and create new pathways, a dread lingers under the surface. At anytime this sand castle paradise might collapse. Albums like this are deserving of appreciation. They are presenting a solidly thought out presentation, from the look of the band all the way through the album from beginning to end. The Neighourhood isn’t lying to us. This is what they are.
I have a feeling this band is going to blow up. Their sound is not overwrought with tricks and gadgets. It sounds like something you can reach out and touch. And to me, that is the heart of rock & roll. Honesty reveals itself to the audience and the audience responds in kind.
Maybe The Neighbourhood is on to something. They could be in a short queue of musicians trying to bring us back to our roots.
To me, that is a good thing.