Review Summary: The songs that would've completed Neighborhoods.
2011 marked the emphatic return of pop punk icons, 'Blink-182'. After a recording hiatus of eight-long years, it was time for the 90’s punk icons to show us what we’ve been missing. Whether it is the mournful melancholy of 'Miss You', or the pop parodiable 'All the small things', Fans could always rely on Blink to deliver high octane verses, and catchy choruses.
Their 2011 release, 'Neighborhoods', was received with mixed reviews: Some enjoyed Blink’s continuation of their grown up sound, originating from their self titled album – Others slammed the band for straying too far from their roots. This reviewer resides in the middle of the debate; the first half of the album rocks – With their grown up sound intact – Whilst the second half feels like an ill-advised after thought. Luckily, for the fans of mature Blink, their 2012 EP, 'Dogs Eating Dogs', is a more streamlined release from the kings of commercial punk.
DED kicks off proceeding with the rock-fuelled 'When I was young'. Tom DeLonge - renowned for his slight off-key vocals – sings his heart out with an enthusiasm we haven’t heard since their self titled album. It is truly a wonderful thing when Mark and Tom share vocal duties; this album allows the pair to showcase their unique voices. Tom’s quintessential American accent and Mark’s deep bass voice combine in a way that places them firmly in the foreground, demoting their guitars to background duties. Though, on paper, these guys aren’t pitch-perfect front men, they sure know how to write a song.
'Dogs eating Dogs' continues the mature Blink formula: a fast, hard hitting verse, a crescendo filled pre-chorus, a highly imaginative chorus, and dare I mention it, a semi-indulgent bridge. Like 'Linkin Park' – but substantially better – these guys know how to construct a perfectly uplifting chorus to compliment their verses.
'Disaster' is easily the best song on the album because it pushes the group’s creativity and their lust for ingenuity. Instead of completely rewriting the book, 'Blink-182' for all their roughness, decide to mix their previous musical experiences to forge one unforgettable song. The chorus sounds like 'Angels and Airwaves' at their peak (if such a thing existed) as Tom utilises his long held notes whilst Travis Barker lays down a suitably epic – yet reserved drum pattern. Mark’s background vocals borrow heavily from their hit single 'Down' – They simply replace ‘Down’ with ‘disaster’; self aware observations like this provide the band with the creative freedom they should have invoked within 'Neighborhoods.'
The band admitted themselves that they enjoyed crafting this EP more than the 'Neighborhoods' recording sessions, and it shows. If the band had been constrained within a record company deal, then a song 'like Boxing Day', or the rapping section in 'pretty little girl' may never have existed. The fact that they didn’t have a record label guaranteed creative freedom. The only real negative of this EP – and it’s through no fault of its own – is how monotonous it makes the second half of 'Neighborhoods' sound. These songs would have sounded perfect on their comeback album, but instead they are the sole property of a digital only release: take this as you will.