If you’re an avid reader of this blog and share a similar taste in music, this week’s band might be a bit of a stretch for you. Basically, you’re either gonna love or hate The Neighbourhood.
I’ve been having trouble coming up with an adequate way to describe this group — and an even harder time explaining why I like it. The five-piece from Newbury Park, Calif., seems like such a departure from the music I normally gravitate toward, but I find myself grooving along to nearly every one of its songs.
Formed in 2011, the group released a couple of EPs in the fall/winter of 2012-2013 before putting out a full-length album, I Love You, in April 2013.
“Sweater Weather” is probably the catchiest and most accessible song on the disc, but there are plenty worth noting. It starts with “How”, a nice slow-burner that establishes the tone.
“Afraid” is a song with a lot of pent-up aggression waiting to burst, but it never does. (Sample lyric from the chorus: “I don’t like you. Fuck you anyway.”)
Next is “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)”, a perfect example of the kind of songs that fill this album — rap-influenced indie-rock that’s laid back but with enough of an edge that causes your head to bob in time rather than simply swaying along.
After “Sweater Weather” comes “Let It Go”, the lone repeat from the EPs. On this track, lead singer Jesse Rutherford sounds almost like a male version of Lorde, but with a rougher tone.
The album then takes a bit of a dip with “Alleyways” and “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” — both filler tracks, but still good enough not to be skipped. Things then close out strong with four songs — “Flawless”, “Female Robbery”, “Staying Up” and “Float” — that are solid but probably a step down from the first portion of the album.
The Neighbourhood — also written as THE NBHD — seem like the kind of band that could take off on a similar trajectory as groups such as Imagine Dragons and Bastille. They are set to tour the country the next two months, including stops at various Midwest festivals.