After releasing two successful EPs in September and January respectively, Californian rockers The Neighbourhood are back with their third full-length self-titled LP. Delivering a third album that lives up to the success of previous work isn’t an easy task, and though this effort certainly manages to retain the monochrome aesthetic that the band have generated for themselves, it unfortunately lacks in both originality and excitement.
‘Flowers’ is a safe introduction, complete with simple melodies and lyrics. Immediately following is ‘Scary Love’, one of the album’s burning highlights, which creates a solid R&B/techno atmosphere built around lead singer Jesse Rutherford‘s crooning vocals. It has similar resemblances to broody pop star The Weeknd, and with its powerful chorus, it’ll do wonders showcased live.
‘Nervous’, ‘Void’, and ‘Blue’ similarly are slow jams that unfortunately after a while all blend into one track, resulting a dull blend lacking in impact. ‘Sadderdaze’ and ‘Softcore’ inject some much needed excitement towards the middle of the record. It’s the most confident exploration of electronic pop that the band seem to delve into here, and if anything it’s a shame they don’t scratch further than the surface with this.
The closing numbers certainly drag the album up from its somewhat midway lull. ‘Too Serious’ is a simple yet effective track. With a clear focus on Rutherford‘s lyrics accompanied with only a few electronic synths, the song stands out and doesn’t lose its magic in its glossy production. Similarly, ‘Stuck With Me’ has a steady build-up of gradual layering of keyboard synths and fuzzy guitars, with the song offering a nostalgic throwback to 2015’s ‘Crybaby’.
It’s the thematic bookend to opener ‘Flowers’, and, for all the moods expressed in the album, this is the resignation, ending in this cyclical manner and resonating previous aesthetics.
This self-titled offering has some solid tracks, but plenty that miss much more than they hit. Following the hype of their recent EPs, it’s disappointing to see that this failed to transcend into a full-length format. Whilst The Neighbourhood have struggled in some areas, there’s a lot of potential for this album to produce some incredible singles.