The Neighbourhood – Hard EP Review
Julie Ye | Writer | USD Radio
The Neighbourhood, an alternative rock band straight out of Newbury Park, California, was formed in 2011. They have since released three EPs: I’m Sorry…, The Love Collection and Thank You, two full-length albums: I Love You, and Wiped Out!, and a mixtape titled #000000 & #FFFFFF.
Following their sophomore album, Wiped Out! released in 2015, the band dropped a surprise EP titled Hard on September 21, 2017. Hard continues to embrace the dark, and seductive pop ambiance that is signature to the California group. The newly released EP displays black and white minimalist cover art, which has been a staple of their brand.
Since their debut, the NBHD has progressively experimented with various instruments and vocal effects while successfully upholding their enigmatic sound inspired by their Californian roots. Frontman, Jesse Rutherford, has openly spoken up about themes of vulnerability in the past and continues to tackle difficult issues in their five-track composition–hence the EP title. By expressing his emotions and troubles, fans are able to connect to their music on a deeper level.
The EP opens with, “Roll Call,” a track that is stylistically similar to their first full-length album, I Love You. Rutherford sings about a soldier in combat who is controlled and told to kill upon order without question. This brooding slow tempo track creates a dreamlike atmosphere made up of distinct bass riffs, vocal echoes, and percussion that exemplifies gunshots, which sets the tone for the remainder of the album.
The EP then progresses to a more upbeat track, “You Get Me So High”. The band reflects upon the success of their double-platinum track, “Sweater Weather,” early in their career. Their unexpected attention made them question the future of the band, and how band members were affected. Since the release of the EP, this track has quickly become a fan favorite.
It is then followed by “Noise”, “24/7”, and ends with the track “Sadderdaze.” This melancholic track is Rutherford’s reflection of his past and infuses nostalgic emotions within his lyrics to recognize that things are no longer the same as they once were.
After two years without new music, The Neighbourhood is back with new tracks that continue to embody their somber and ominous image. Although this EP lacks the same spark found in their previous albums, it is a solid collection of songs that vocalizes tough issues that the group has undergone. For those who have followed the alternative band since the beginning, giving “You Get Me So High” a listen gives a deeper perspective of the band and how they have evolved.
Listen to the EP here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3MrxSbUrUahxAxnhZfChz4