Review: The Neighbourhood – Wiped Out!
Californian pop-rock group The Neighbourhood released their second album in late October, following their debut in 2013 with I Love You, and like its predecessor it hasn’t had a big impact in the music world. Their new work, Wiped Out, is a follow-up in the groups’ Southern-California-melancholy melody that seems to be getting more and more in vogue in the American music scene.
Their first album was received with mixed criticism, even though the band got I Love You to rank 39 in Billboard’s 200 Album Chart, and having a smashing sucess with the single Sweater Weather. The feeling of moodiness and atmospheric instrumental is one of their trademarks so far, and that doesn’t change in Wiped Out, and in some tracks like R.I.P. to My Youth and Prey you can feel that the band is willing to explore new beats and rhythm that still focus on that gloominess with new elements. That could possibly be due to the presence of Lana Del Rey’s producer Emile Haynie, whose presence at first sight makes it seem that the band would be getting their emotional tune taken to new levels. That, however, was not the case.
Wiped Out sounds like a still ocean that doesn’t make much waves, although it tries to every now and then. The album starts with a 30 seconds track of silence, called (shock) A Moment of Silence, followed by Prey, which packs chilled, laidback guitar riffs that could suggest a musical trip to the beach in a gloomy day. After that the mood just dies even further, with songs that fail to prove what fans were expecting from the group: standing out of an already numerous amount of alternative-pop California-based melody fused groups like Best Coast or Foster The People. Unlike their previous work, where the band isn’t afraid to experiment with different types of music, like the song #icanteven which features hip-hop fusion provided by French Montana, which helped to diversify their sound seeing that they were a young group. In Wiped Out The Neighbourhood doesn’t rely on guest artists and drive the whole album themselves
The band’s music videos show a noir ambient with frontman Jesse Rutherford showing his Kurt Cobain-Alex Turner style in several shots, which in the end the listener is left with a void feeling. The singles R.I.P. to My Youth and The Beach don’t quite follow the video, although it’s very well produced and filmed, and they could be both be seen as songs of over-expression, clinging on to cheesy metaphors in the lyrics, with Rutherford trying to hard to sound like Weeknd, but managing to create catchy flowed beats. All in all the band is still looking for their own sound and you can see that they have potencial at a production level, but just need to be pointed in the right direction in regards to instrumental work.
A work in progress, overall.