REVIEW: The Neighbourhood’s new album shows musical evolution, uncertain future

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Just in time for sweater weather, alternative rock band The Neighbourhood dropped a new album that radiates relaxing fall energy.

The band’s fourth studio album “Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones” takes on a persona resembling David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”

“Chrome” offers a simple, laid-back experience for the listener, a light-hearted tone compared to previous albums. As fall weather approaches, this album is great for a relaxing drive or cuddling on the couch.

The album begins with a futuristic 30-second intro titled “Chip Chrome” that transitions right into “Pretty Boy,” soothing ballad and declaration of love, even after death. Soft drums and a simple bass line coexist with haunting vocal effects and reverberating guitar riffs.

The song fades into silence, only to shock the listener with a sudden scream before transitioning into the next track “Lost in Translation.”

One of the more upbeat songs on the album, “Lost in Translation” switches from a Temptations-inspired introduction to a percussive chorus with soaring synths. The song shifts in and out of a half-time rhythm multiple times, losing itself in translation.

Skipping ahead, “Hell or High Water” is a shorter song that instantly made me think of the background music in Spongebob. It’s an odd comparison, you’ll understand if you give it a listen.

The lyrics are simple yet impactful — “I went through hell, to get to high water / And now I’m tryin’ not to drown.” The song closes with a sweet instrumental break, radio static echoing in the background.

“Cherry Flavoured” is about the sugar-coating of modern conversation. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford sings, “Cherry flavored conversations with you / Got me hanging on / Down to Earth from all the waiting / Take me somewhere beyond.” Acoustic in nature, with underlying drums building throughout the song, it takes a sudden turn in switching to some sort of creepy elevator music at the end.

My favorite song from the album, “BooHoo,” opens following a short interlude, with percussive synth rhythms and blaring sirens before switching into a laid-back beat. Rutherford shares his relationship insecurities and searches for affirmation that he is worth being with.

As the album comes to a close, the final two songs blend perfectly.

“Tobacco Sunburst” focuses less on lyrical content and more on creating a musical revelation. A cello solo during one of the instrumental breaks feels like an epiphany, a powerful moment of clarity among the chaos.

The final song of the album and the first promotional single, “Middle of Somewhere,” takes off from that earlier moment of clarity when Rutherford acknowledges how lost he felt in the music industry: “Everyone is an alien / When you’re trying to find your place.”

This is the band’s last contractually obligated album with Columbia Records. From here, they could go anywhere. For now, they are just somewhere.

While I still consider their 2015 album “Wiped Out!” my favorite, The Neighbourhood has found a beautiful new beginning with “Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones.” The album is worth listening to in its entirety and absorbing every unique melody and lyric.

Jared Shuff is a junior in secondary education. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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