I’ll be honest. This new album from The Neighbourhood shook me to the core. Now, this is a proper pop album. Not the shitty 2nd-rate lazy hip-pop that is popular nowadays but an old-school pop album. But with 2020 pop sensibilities. How did this happen?
Yes, I have never even heard of The Neighbourhood before… well, now. So pardon the Wikipedia cut and paste – “The Neighbourhood (sometimes rendered as “THE NBHD”) is an American alternative rock band formed in Newbury Park, California, in 2011. The band is composed of vocalist Jesse Rutherford, guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott, and drummer Brandon Alexander Fried.”
Prior to the new album, the band had released three other albums and have been doing so since 2013. So, yeah, fairly new, as far as I am concerned. So what got my attention? Well, the fact that Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones is an obvious Ziggy Stardust rip-off/homage! Who the fuck does that in 2020?
And, no, the album does not remotely sound like Bowie. Well, maybe only in the sense that it is eclectic to the max! I mean, anybody who has ever read any of my reviews will know that I am a sucker for eclecticism. And this album has that in spades! From alternative rock to slick R&B to classic 70s pop-rock to indie-folk, Chip Chrome covers a lot of ground and I simply love it to death for that!
But again, none of these styles are just flat-out lifted but thrown into a melting pot of styles as a starting point for these truly clever songs. “Cherry Flavoured” for example opens like ELO via Granddaddy before morphing into an alien hip-hop pastiche at the end. And this is the single? Who the fuck does that in 2020?
“BooHoo” is a straight up contemporary pop ditty and it fits perfectly with the rest of Chip Chrome’s mondo bizarro agenda, while “Tobacco Sunburst” is freaked-out indie folk (ala Neil Young/Flaming Lips), with atmospherics. Two poles of a shared world with everything in-between providing a pleasing pop-rock menu for 2020. One of the best albums of this fucked up year.
… still there’s more …