Getting ‘wiped out’ is a phrase you tend to associate with surf or skate culture, and with the idea of failing or being too tired to care. With that in mind, it may seem like an odd name for an album, but California natives, The Neighbourhood, have dropped their sophomore effort with that very title.
At first glance they may look just like another typical skater-boy rock outfit, but you couldn’t be more wrong; these guys might not have really taken off in the UK quite yet, but with their new album out and a tour crossing over the pond this year, what better time is there to get involved?
In terms of songwriting, The Neighbourhood guys are really pushing some boundaries. There’s something about the way lead singer, Jesse Rutherford, writes that will really resonate with a lot of people – I don’t know if it’s his subject matter, or maybe the fact that, at one point, he was an MC, but something feels fresh. This guy knows what he’s doing with words. There’s a great range to his voice that balances innocence with just enough of a special kind of rawness: he’s not quite grunge and not quite Coldplay.
The general style of music the band brings is pretty left field. They’re not your typical middle of the road alternative rock band from California. The NBHD are obviously taking serious steps to step out of the long shadow cast by the culture of boys driving around with guitars, tattoos and some girl-related angst in their hearts.
Sure, they have the typical guitars and drums and what that brings, yet there’s an atmosphere that they create with their production and structure that’s just a notch above anything I’ve heard in a while. As corny as it sounds, there’s a journey in each song that’s good enough to stand alone as simply instrumental (and still be more than good enough to hit the mark). They have some of the best breakdowns I’ve come across in a while, too.
The Neighbourhood have brought a strange spice to their sound now, with just a little bit of hip-hop and contemporary R’n’B influence to leave a taste. It’s feels almost Red Hot Chili Peppers-y, and the post-funk vibes mark these guys aside from your average run-of-the-mill band in plaid shirts with scruffy hair. They take the foundation of the genre and blend it with great subject matter, awesome writing and harmonies, and a power that blends together two genres that many love.
It’s a gem of a project. Replete with a gallery of black and white imagery to everything they do, they prove colour can be heard just as much as it can be seen. Radio should definitely eat it up, and performed live it should be stunning. So come on, why not get wiped out too?