Review Summary: Uncompromisingly chill.
Spanning genres is the way to go when trying to reach a higher level of mainstream appeal. Indie Rock and hip-hop are the two styles that make up the majority of the ‘hipster music’ landscape, so it’s inevitable that many have tried to bring them together. It makes sense, really, to try to make a lasting impression on as many differently tuned ears as possible, as it allows that broader range of listeners to be courted by your sound. Unfortunately this could lead to an overwhelming bombardment of ideas that overshadow the intricacies of songwriting with splashes of unnecessary variation, or conversely, we could experience a watering down of the individual influences. The fact remains that it’s a worthy risk, and one that The Neighbourhood
have conquered brilliantly on their debut I Love You
Beat driven while remaining indie to the core, I Love You
sounds uncompromisingly chill. On Female Robbery, dense, echoing synths bounce behind a wall of drum beats as Jesse Rutherford’s silvery vocals spread gingerly over top. It’s sexy and it’s unified. I Love You
is undeniably a breath of fresh air in a sea of copycat indie pop, and makes for some of the most accessible tunes that the genre has produced lately. Never once does the hip-hop aspect of the music overpower the rock roots, or vice-versa, allowing for an amalgamation that steers clear of already charted territory, while never betraying itself by trying to be something that it isn’t. Every idea works, from the stripped acoustic bridge of Sweater Weather to the gloomy instrumental intro of How, and the record never suffers from overstretching its bounds.
As for the opposite side of the spectrum, you can certainly tell that it’s a freshman LP. The Neighbourhood
have a strong idea of how they want their music to sound, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a song that deviates too strongly from the ideas previously highlighted. This becomes a bit of a problem, as each song struggles to separate itself from the pack and loses some of its own individual impact. It’s an ambience problem more than anything else, as song after song of dark noir-esque atmosphere proves tiring without the occasional shift towards, well, something different
. The obvious exception is Sweater Weather which sounds considerably less brooding. It stands as the core reason behind the bands emergence in the scene and hits just as hard a year later as it did upon its release. I Love You
is tight and carefree in its presentation, but is let down slightly by a narrow mindset when it comes to tone. With a debut under their belt, we can hopefully look forward to a more experimental and less restrained version of The Neighbourhood
in the future.