By Scott Birnie
Released April 26th, 2013 - Sony Music
In early 2012 a song was released by an unknown band called The Neighbourhood. The track titled ‘Female Robbery' instantly spurned worldwide interest in the music industry. Who were they? Where were they from? Why are they so secretive? Were questions that everyone was asking. After the release of ‘Sweater Weather' and the subsequent video, those questions were no longer of any relevance. The Neighbourhood had a plan, and it was clear that plan was based solely on the music they created, an R&B infused rock collaborative, moody tones and rhythmic vocals with a feel of real depth and soul. The music was the message The Neighbourhood had for us and the music was all we needed..
So finally 2012's biggest ‘buzz band' have pulled back the curtain of secrecy to reveal the identity of this Californian act and their debut album ‘I Love You'. 21 year old lead vocalist and lyricist Jesse Rutherfordfronts what he labels ‘black and white' music, possibly in direct conflict to the simplicity they deliver to the complex form of indie rock and hip hop.
From the opening track ‘How', through to fan favourites ‘Female Robbery', ‘Sweater Weather' and ‘Let it Go'The Neighbourhood draw the listener in to tell a story of love and hate to kidnapping and partying. They manage to forge ahead in a new direction of indie rock with 11 tracks that are as intriguing as they are familiar, with a successful recipe derived from Foster the People and Mumford & Sons. The rhythmic flow is carried along its journey with original vocals depicting darker lyrics, backed by a soothing bass riff, piercing guitar and a refreshingly layered beat reminiscent of Broken Bells, Temper Trap and The Shins. In an industry where the overproduced yet underdeveloped artist find an outlet in every facet of social media, The Neighbourhood take this trend, snap it in half, light in on fire and throw it out the window of a speeding train. For this album is about the music and nothing else.
‘I Love You' combines some eclectic music stylings and forms that fit together seamlessly. Like pieces to differing puzzles, The Neighbourhood don't try to force the sound in any one direction but let it flow until the picture is complete. It is human nature to be sceptical of the unknown, but what is unknown about The Neighbourhood is exciting. The only thing I am sceptical of is whether or not it is possible to follow ‘I Love You' with something measuring up to these lofty standards.
4 / 5