Album Review: Wiped Out! – The Neighbourhood

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The album cover.

The Neighbourhood (not to be confused with the Neighborhood) is an alt-rock band formed in 2011. Although the band is American, they chose the British spelling of “neighborhood” to distinguish themselves from another band with the American spelling. The NBHD, as they are occasionally called, released their debut album, I Love You., in 2013. The first single from that release proved to be the main factor in the group’s rise thus far. Titled Sweater Weather, the track is quiet and soft, but incredibly catchy. It peaked at number one on the Billboard charts for eleven non-consecutive weeks, and is still widely known. The NBHD’s most recent release, Wiped Out!, was their second album. Wiped Out! was released on October 30, 2015.

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The Neighbourhood.

The first track of the album, titled A Moment of Silence, is only thirty seconds long, and proves to be just that: half a minute of dead silence. A subtle memoir to Jesse Rutherford’s late father, this “moment” is an eerie change from typical first tracks. A Moment of Silence leads right into the next track, Prey. Prey is echoey and a bit muffled to start, before going into clear guitar riffs and Jesse Rutherford’s unique vocals. Rutherford seems to have no problem hitting high notes as well as low, showing an extraordinary range. The vocals sound like the audial equivalent of nostalgia, in a way. Wiped Out!, the fourth and title track, starts almost immediately, with more prominent instrumentals. The feel of the song is still slow and powerful, though. With a vibe not dissimilar to that of Halsey and the occasional twenty one pilots song, The Neighbourhood’s music sounds like it belongs in the soundtrack to a movie. Near the middle of the song, the sound gets to be staticky and harsh. Right at the end, though, guitar and soft vocals emerge from the barrage of static. The Beach, the next track, starts with the sound of stormy waves, creating the feeling of actually being on a beach. The iconic guitar riff in this track was created by Zach Abels, one of The NBHD’s two guitarists. Abels used to use the riff for soundcheck before shows, and it eventually became part of a song. The Beach ends with the sound of quiet waves crashing on sand, and eerie, foghorn-like sounds. Baby Come Home 2/Valentines is the second part to Baby Come Home, a track off of I Love You. With quiet acoustic guitar and beautiful, echoing harmonies in the background,  Baby Come Home 2/Valentines is a gentle, slightly haunting song. Califournia, another track, not only pays homage to the band’s roots, but also brings the unique spelling into play. R.I.P. 2 My Youth is the final track on the album. With a strong drumbeat and striking lyrics proclaiming “R.I.P. to my youth”, this track is the perfect closing to a powerful album.

A unique take on a genre many know and love, The Neighbourhood is a perfect example of how artists don’t always have to conform to become successful.

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