In true The Neighbourhood fashion, the band have dropped a surprise EP ‘Hard’. This 5 track EP is the first release since their sophomore album ‘Wiped Out!’ and has been a long time coming. The Neighbourhood continue to develop their sound in unexpected ways, with the lyrics dealing with issues of fame following the success of ‘Sweater Weather’ and staying true to one’s self.
This EP doesn’t really have an audible theme, other than the use of synthesizers throughout; one song brings to mind the electronic style of Blackbear and others make me think of old 90s bands. What it does have is those signature lyrics that are a little disturbing, thought-provoking and extremely catchy. Many of the songs touch on the journey the band has taken; the ups and downs of fame and even a more personal view from Jesse, the band’s main songwriter. Though these songs aren’t clearly linked to eachother, once you really sit down and listen to the album it becomes clear wwhat they all have in common.
‘Sadderdaze’ is my favourite song on this EP and one of my favourites from this band. It takes a bit of a step back in the bands evolution, sounding more like ‘I Love You’ than ‘Wiped Out!’, and is a welcome ode to the past. It’s exciting to hear where a band is heading and to hear them experiment but for me this song really stands out as the diamond on this short EP. Even just the title itself is such a brilliant play on words that it puts a smile on my face and it really adds a whole level to the meaning of the song.
Two of the other stand out songs on the EP are ’24/7′ and ‘You Get Me So High’. These songs bring to mind their mixtape, which was the first mixtape released by a band (and the only one I’ve ever heard of). Though clearly evolving from this with electronic sounds, smooth vocals and beautiful melodies that truly do combine the best from all the genres this band has dabbled in. The Neighbourhood is a band whose sound is so varied that they remain recognisable mainly through Jesse’s vocals; he has a uniquely beautiful voice and it is really only this that remains the same between all the releases.
The brilliant thing about The Neighbourhood is that you never know what to expect and this remains the case with ‘Hard’; they’re certainly a band that finds it hard to be contained by genre. This EP has wet my appetite for further music from them, keep an eye out from for announcements from this alternative band.