The Californian

The Neighborhood Album Review

Emma von der Lieth, Staff Writer

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If you’re hungry for a new indie-alternative album to listen to, The Neighbourhood’s “I Love You.” will satisfy your craving.

The Neighbourhood formed in 2011 and released their first full length album, “I Love You.,” on April 23.

The southern California-based band consists of lead vocalist Jesse Rutherford, bassist Mikey Margott, drummer Bryan Sammis and guitarists Zach Abels and Jeremy Freedman.

The band formed when Rutherford, Abels and Freedman watched alternative band Arcade Fire play at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Rutherford, Abels and Freedman knew immediately that they wanted to perform at the festival, and soon after added Sammis and Margott to the band. This year, the band’s dream came true as they performed at the world-renowned Coachella Festival in April. The Neighbourhood will also be performing at BFD (Big F***ing Day), an alternative music festival, on May 19 alongside Thirty Seconds to Mars, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men and many others.

In 2012 The Neighbourhood released their first two EPs titled “Thank You,” and “I’m Sorry…,” respectively.

“Thank You,” features two tracks, “Let It Go” and “A Little Death.” “Let It Go” features Rutherford’s rap style along with a catchy chorus. “A Little Death” has a more indie-alternative vibe, and while it’s still an amazing track, it’s not as energetic as “Let It Go.”

The band’s second EP, “I’m Sorry…” is by far one of the best EPs I have ever heard.

The first and best track on the EP is “Female Robbery,” which displays a unique sound that grabs your attention within the first few seconds. The lyrics are interesting and catchy, and the overall sound is something that I have never heard before. “Sweater Weather” is another attention-grabbing track on “I’m Sorry…” that has hints of rap and pop but also gives off an indie-alternative feel.

Luckily for fans, the band’s debut album, “I Love You.,” stays true to The Neighbourhood’s original sound.

The first track on the album, “How,” opens up with a mix of guitar and radio static while slowly incorporating Rutherford’s soft vocals. The song is slow, yet powerful with lyrics like, “How could you tell me that I’m great / when they chew me out / spit me out / piss on me.” Overall, I really like that the band chose “How” as opening track because it represents the band’s sound and gives listeners a taste of what’s to come next on the album.

The next track, titled “Afraid,” is one of strongest songs on the album. The lyrics are even more powerful than those on “How,” as Rutherford sings: “When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might take my place” and “Being me and only me / Feeling scared to breathe / If you leave me then I’ll be afraid of everything.” The lyrics are incredibly intense, but the beat sounds very similar to “Sweater Weather” from the band’s previous EP. I wish that the band had come up with a unique sound for this song, but the fact that Rutherford had the courage to sing those lyrics filled with depression and anxiety makes up for it.

“Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)” is another strong track on the album. The beat is soft but the chorus is catchy and energetic.

The beginning of “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)” could be easily mistaken for a Coldplay song, but as soon as you hear the first few lyrics uttered from Rutherford, you know that it has to be The Neighbourhood. This is part of the reason why I love the album so much. Rutherford’s voice is so unique and interesting and it quickly captures listeners’ attention. “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)” could very well be the band’s next big hit because of the catchy chorus and smooth beat.

The next two songs on the album are “Sweater Weather” and “Let It Go.” Both songs sound exactly the same as they did on the band’s previous EPs. Although the tracks may seem repetitive to old fans, they fit in with “I Love You.” perfectly.

The next song on “I Love You.” is titled “Alleyways.” This song has more of a rap feel to it, but it keeps with the band’s alternative roots. “Alleyways” is one of the more energetic songs on the album in that the beat incorporates elements of pop into the track.

“W.D.Y.W.F.M.,” which stands for What Do You Want From Me, is the next track on the album. I have to admit, after “Alleyways,” I was beginning to think that the album was getting a bit repetitive. Although I love each and every song individually on the album, when I listened to them in succession they were all beginning to sound the same.

But “W.D.Y.W.F.M.” was refreshingly different, and Rutherford’s voice really takes center stage. His vocals become louder and stronger, and the beat in this song is faster and more upbeat. “W.D.Y.W.F.M.” is my personal favorite on the album, and I think that without it, “I Love You.” would’ve fallen flat.

“Flawless” is another breath of fresh air. The beginning of the song is catchy, and the beat during the chorus was unexpected from The Neighbourhood in that it had more of a pop feel to it. There is also a nice refrain in the song that adds a bit of spice. The refrain is my favorite part of “Flawless” because Rutherford’s voice sounds so serene and soft.

The next song is “Female Robbery,” which previously appeared on the band’s second EP, “I’m Sorry….” The song sounds the same as it did on the EP, but it fit in with the other tracks on “I Love You.,” so I don’t mind the addition.

The beat in the next song, “Staying Up,” sounds similar to the other tracks on the album. While I really loved the lyrics in the other songs from “I Love You.,” the lyrics in this song aren’t very profound, as Rutherford sings: “How can I sleep / if I don’t have dreams / I just have nightmares.” These same few lines are basically repeated for the duration of the four minute song, so the tune gets boring very quickly.

The last track on the album, “Float,” also sounds similar to other tracks, but the chorus saves it from being repetitive and boring. The lyrics in this song are a bit cheesy like in “Staying Up.” Rutherford sings, “I didn’t have a dream ‘cause I don’t believe in them / life can only mean hardly anything,” which sounds depressing to say the least. While the lyrics in the previous songs were also dark in nature, they were more insightful and meaningful.

Overall, The Neighbourhood is a young, unique band that has a different sound than any alternative or indie band I have ever heard. Although their album was a bit repetitive and some of the lyrics could have been stronger, I absolutely loved it. This band has so much talent and potential that I think they will become the next Black Keys or Thirty Seconds to Mars. “I Love You.” is the band’s first full length album, and I can’t wait to hear what their sophomore album will sound like. Anyone who enjoys alternative or indie music should definitely give The Neighbourhood a chance because they are a force to be reckoned with. I rate “I Love You.” 3.5 out of 4 guitars.

1 Comment

One Response to “The Neighborhood Album Review”

  1. jenn on November 23rd, 2013 7:13 pm

    The Neighbourhood is so incredible live, I can’t wait to see them at another show. They’re definitely one of the best artists of the year in my opinion. http://on.vh1.com/1cDPmU6

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