The evident cliché of the blundering sophomore album did not apply to The Neighbourhood’s latest release, “Wiped Out!” Although these self-proclaimed disheveled bad boys from California identify as alternative, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this album to pop or hip-hop fans.
The album begins with “ A Moment of Silence” an actual moment of complete and utter silence. This only increases my anticipation of the tracks to follow. With a prelude so avant-garde, this is the album your friends won’t know about until four months later.
I can hear ominous bells ringing as “Prey” begins and fades in with lead vocalist Jesse Rutherford’s throaty brooding. The guitar and seemingly upbeat feel disguise the vulnerability found in the lyrics.
“Cry Baby” starts strong, but with the first listen I realize it lacks something I can’t put my finger on. Its sound is strikingly similar to other tracks on the album and because of this is skipped at first.
The title track, “Wiped Out!” sounds an awful lot like the previous song and leaves me unsatisfied to say the least. It’s poppy and instead of a track that should stand out, comes across as more of a six-minute filler.
An enigmatic atmosphere is set as fog surrounds the mellow vocals in “The Beach.” It is undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the album so far. The lyrics are excruciatingly honest and candid.
The next track, “Daddy Issues,” fades in with a grainy sound that gives it a vintage feel; I’m already enticed by the title and how they’ll handle this taboo topic. Rutherford’s vocals seductively crawl and he whispers eerie lyrics that somehow come across oddly endearing. His words, “I know that you got daddy issues/ And if you were my little girl…/ I love that you got daddy issues,” in hindsight have severe “Lolita-esque” undertones. I strangely love this tune and find myself playing it over again.
A haunting distorted voice over saying something about “the wonders of California” are laid over the crashing of ocean waves in “Greetings from Califournia.” When the beat drops Rutherford begins, rapping? Singing? The mystery is part of what makes the band so incredible.
The song “Single,” one of my personal favorites off of “Wiped Out!” is so wonderful and oozes angsty naivety in the best way. Again, the motif of being attracted to a much younger girl is played out and is heavily focused on in a strikingly charming way. The hook, “Can you let your baby be my girl?” leads me to believe this is a song to a girl’s parents that forbid them to be together.
Finally, “R.I.P 2 My Youth” wraps up the album with a heady, intense intro. Twenty seconds in and all I can feel is bass and drums. The hymnal organ backdrops and juxtaposes the air of arrogance that follows Rutherford’s vocals. This may be the bad boy anthem to end all bad boy anthems. The lyrics are heavy and almost come across as a chant. He sings of scars that haven’t quite healed and the remnants of adolescents ceasing.
No matter what genre you consider The Neighbourhood, one thing is for sure this edgy romp has put out a sophomore album that is sure to please fans and anyone looking to listen to something different.