Tune In: The Neighborhood “Wiped Out!”
November 16, 2015
In music, there are few things I hate more than a sudden change of tempo or erratic rhythm; I generally like a uniform and smooth flow to music. The Neighbourhood’s sound is the antithesis to this–with all their low vocals and hip, funky instrumentals, the band swings between slow and fast, upbeat and relaxed, and manages to make it work in the most wonderful way. Such was the case in their latest album “Wiped Out!,” which is, essentially, an eclectic amalgam of incongruous sound that I should, in theory, detest–and yet, I don’t.
The Neighbourhood made its debut in 2013 with “Sweater Weather,” but has since taken a backseat, producing little to no music until now. In their sophomore album, released last month, the indie rock band sheds its mellow, alternative sound and embodies edgy. Actually, to say that this album is edgy would be a colossal understatement. The album screams “dark nights on a California beach,” with tunes that echo and compliment one another and lyrics that resonate throughout the tracklist. This, along with its contemporary instrumental, creates a very fluid and relaxed cadence throughout.
The album opens with with “A Moment of Silence,” which, admittedly, feels pretentious at first blush, as it is quite literally 30 seconds devoid of sound. However, it fits with the album’s underlying theme of decaying youth, which takes center stage in the album’s last song, “R.I.P. to my Youth.”
A few songs on the album retain the band’s signature of depressing, gloomy music, both lyrically and melodically. Most songs in the album, however, have a distinct muddled and hazy, almost sleepy quality to them. Songs like “The Beach” and “Daddy Issues” embody this. With that being said, these songs do not necessarily feel tired or gloomy. They manage to seem more relaxing than anything, making the two my favorites on the album.
Other favorites include “Wiped Out,” which is mostly an upbeat, fast paced song.. However, just when it starts to get a little repetitive and boring, the song slows down, bringing on a nice R&B twist.
Lyrically, the album is admittedly lacking. The Neighbourhood’s past works have never employed lyrical complexity, and they make meager efforts to change that now. However, unlike their old songs, at least each song here has a comprehensive set of understandable lyrics, an upgrade from previous lyrics such as “One love, two mouths/ One love, one house.”
Overall, though, the album is a drastic shift from the band’s music. Like the tides of the ocean that the band so often references, the music is fluid, unpredictable, yet calming. I’m excited to see the band evolve in the coming years.