Category Archives: Pop

El Pintor – Album Review

Interpol

Last year, New York City indie rock band Interpol finally released a follow-up to their self-titled album. El Pintor was their 5th and it was well received overall.

The first song on the album, “All The Rage Back Home”, was the first single to be released from El Pintor and it recently made our 20 Cool Songs From 2014 list. Singer Paul Banks‘ haunting voice is back in a familiar but catchy and moody track that’s most definitely a worthy opener.

“My Desire”, the second track (and single), boasts an inventive pinched guitar hook. It’s certainly atmospheric and doesn’t sound like a lot of Interpol songs which is good since it shows some form of versatility. That said, it never truly takes off. As for “Anywhere”, it’s got a solid start but, on the whole, it mostly comes off as a bit too busy and messy. It’s like if R.E.M. sang in a busy restaurant but no-one stopped talking or eating, there’s a droning feel to this one.

“Same Town, New Story” is a softer track with a promising core hook which, like “My Desire” gives the song its own personality. It is, however, a little repetitive and the song doesn’t seem to develop much. A shot of adrenaline could do this album some good right about now.

“My Blue Supreme” works much better in that its main melody is catchier and almost has a John Frusciante-esque quality to it. It’s, again, a slower, softer track which needed a burst of energy in there somewhere but it’s really not bad.

The problem with the next track and third single, “Everything Is Wrong”, is it starts with a simple, pretty cool guitar riff but that gets lost in a sea of effects-packed instruments and soundscapes. If only this one hadn’t been so overproduced it could have stood out a little more because, as it stands, it’s another kinda forgettable, too busy track.

“Breaker 1” has a decent hook which comes up now and then but, otherwise, there’s not much to hold onto here. Interpol are awesome at creating atmospheric tunes and this is one of them, but the songs really need to sound radically different to each other in order to make the album worth it. Otherwise it’s better to just buy the first single and walk away then go back and listen to Antics, the band’s terrific 2004 album.

Same goes for the 8th track, “Ancient Ways”, another moody tune with potential which sadly never fully takes off. That said, this is one of the best songs on the album, probably because it’s got a Muse-style vibe here and there but probably also because you can actually hear the guitar riffs for once!

A solid drum beat introduces “Tidal Wave”, a decent track in which Paul Banks tries something a little different by going into Bono territory vocally at times. There’s a repetitiveness to the track and pacing issues but those are nitpicks, it’s not bad at all. Finally, we have the ironically titled “Twice As Hard” which isn’t twice as hard but twice as slow as the other tracks on the album. It’s a fitting last song, which isn’t a good thing.

While it may sound like I hate El Pintor, I really don’t. There are some decent songs in there and it still sounds very much like Interpol so if you like the band, chances are you’ll like parts of this album. It’s just a frustrating listen with every song showing lots of potential but never going the extra 100m to stand out at all. A lot of the times, cool riffs and good ideas are drowned in a sea of effects, plus Banks never really challenges himself here.

Not terrible, then, but Interpol have done better and will do better, I’m sure.

That’s only 2 Happy Cobains out of 5 for this one, I’m afraid.

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Blur – Album Review

Blur

Releasing a self-titled album five albums in may sound like an odd move for any band but it usually means said band has decided to move in a different direction or reinvent itself somewhat.

Hence Pearl Jam‘s “avocado album” and Blur‘s fifth album… Blur.

Although previous albums rejected an American influence pretty much entirely, this one toyed much more with that and embraced a newer, more raw style. With Graham Coxon freer to try random stuff and Damon Albarn writing more personal tracks, this looked set to be a big change for the band.

Was it a good change, though?

Seeing as it quickly went platinum, I’d say so.

The album opens with “Beetlebum”, a single which went straight to number 1 in the UK charts and, although its title sounds a bit silly, the song is actually about heroin so not quite as whimsical as it may seem. In the vein of “Coffee & TV”, “Beetlebum” purposefully has its sleepy moments and its pretty, sweeter moments with an oddly sexy vibe throughout. The melody develops beautifully and it remains one of Blur’s most memorable and bittersweet tracks.

Not quite as memorable as song number 2, though.

Or, to give it its full title: “Song 2”.

This one’s a perfect two-minute long ode to grungy minimalism and despite having been overplayed throughout the years in every single 90’s advert, it’s still a lot of fun. The fact it parodied American grunge music yet made the album popular in the US at the same is a sweet irony I’m sure the band appreciated.

Next up is “Country Sad Ballad Man”. After some mysterious string-scraping from Coxon, who is as erratic and experimental as ever with his solos here, we finally get to the chilled melody. The result is a playful song with Albarn going to a higher pitch than usual. The following song, “M.O.R.” (stands for “middle of the road”), is an upbeat, relentless track with a very 90’s chorus that may prove too whiny for some but, luckily, “M.O.R.” boasts an enjoyably action-packed video directed by John Hardwick so there’s always that.

“On Your Own” was another hit single to be released from the album. Electronic static sounds and beeps open this robotic, bluesy tune as a creative beat (to say the least) brings us to a catchy hook and reliably sardonic lyrics. “Theme From Retro” is a moody, atmospheric transition track made up of dub-style echoey voices, random beats, organ solos and guitar screeches.

“You’re So Great” is next and that one’s a complete Coxon concoction with him even taking over the vocals. It’s a cute and clumsy ballad in which the weakly sung chorus somehow works to the song’s advantage. It’s definitely a lighter effort but a decidedly charming one nonetheless. As for “Death Of A Party”, it’s a slower, more morose and sadder track peppered with off-beat buzzes and scratches. There’s definitely something eerie, almost depressing about that one but it does grow on you.

“Chinese Bombs” was always one of my favourites from this particular album. Here we have a more genuinely punky track with Albarn’s voice sounding deliberately grungy and distorted. It’s fast, fun, gritty and oddly catchy, mostly thanks to Coxon’s simple yet perfect hook. The chorus is eclectic and nutty and altogether this makes up one short but sweet little piece of madness. “I’m Just a Killer For Your Love” is a slower, moodier, more low-key track with rougher backing and riffs. The best way to describe it is to say it’s like a worthy but unpolished Gorillaz song.

The next track, “Look Inside America” is very Blur and, although it’s melodically sound, it’s a bit all over the place. It’s much more upbeat than most of the other songs on the album and, as such, it feels like it belongs more on The Great Escape or Leisure. It’s still an entertaining listen, though, and some violins are even thrown in for variety. As for “Strange News From Another Star”, it’s a more acoustic song with a Bowie-esque feel to it. Again, this one’s a bit more reflective and moody but it’s admittedly well put together. It grows into a very good song pretty quick.

As we near the end of the album, we get “Movin’ On”: an energetic, anarchic track in which Coxon basically flies his guitar to the Moon and back. One could definitely see this one end a concert chaotically. And finally, we have “Essex Dogs” (merged with hidden track “Interlude”) and it’s a long one led by a weird car starting-up type of sound. The song’s pretty darn close to being an abstract Daft Punk outing. It kind of feels like whatever sounds or melodies they had leftover they stuffed into this mostly incomprehensible last track but hey, it’s the final track, why the hell not?

All in all, it’s no surprise why this new approach worked for Blur: it’s a grittier sound with more attitude, more experimentation and a little bit of growing up. The old cocky art student vibe remains, of course, but by looking into other types of musical inspiration and writing more personal tracks, the band definitely grew with this album and, because of that, as a self-titled album, it’s a success.

While not quite as flashy or colourful as some of Blur’s other albums, this effort is packed with enough unforgettable hits and hidden gems that it deserves to be right up there as one of their best.

Blur’s “Blur” is most definitely one to check out and it gets a solid 4 Happy Cobains out of 5 from us.

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Security – Album Review

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel‘s fourth solo album Security (aka Peter Gabriel), released back in 1982, was about as experimental as you’d expect but a couple of hits came out of it and, in an album with only 8 songs, that’s pretty darn good.

But was the whole album as worthy as its most popular tracks?

The first song, “The Rhythm Of The Heat”, boasts an odd yet compelling and intense build-up. After a minute of Gabriel singing over what sounds like asthmatic trains, the drums etc. kick in and the song develops into what I can best describe as an epic black magic ceremony. It’s a perfect concert overture and it does really well to get you hyped up for the rest of the album.

Next up is “San Jacinto” and, over a rhythm of raining, popping notes, we get some solid, creative lyrics as ever. It’s an entertaining track despite being another long one and, although It develops slowly, the pretty epic ending is worth it.

Finally, we get to the album’s second single, “I Have The Touch”, a very 80’s love letter to rush hour. The song has a typically eclectic beat and a glam feel to it at times. It’s an upbeat yet desperate and erratic anthem. Arguably one of Peter Gabriel’s best.

The next one, “The Family And The Fishing Net”, is about 7 minutes long so don’t be in a rush if you’re planning to listen to the entire thing. It’s another slow burn with various beats and random sound effects everywhere. The tone is darker yet, at times, it becomes a funky Prince-style upbeat tune and, at other times, it has more of middle eastern music influence. Again, very experimental and challenging but an enjoyable listen if you’re willing to stick with it for a while.

The album’s first single, “Shock The Monkey”, follows and, yes, its infamous video is worth a mention as it’s all kinds of awesome and, most importantly, batshit insane. You’d never expect such a really fun, generally upbeat track in which Gabriel says “monkey” a lot to have this dark of a video and yet that’s what we got. That said, the lyrics do hint at darker, more violent goings on. It’s one of the catchiest of the bunch and, again, one of Peter Gabriel’s most memorable and best songs.

An on-and-off beat and isolated, rap-esque spoken vocals open “Lay Your Hands On Me” like it’s a Flight Of The Conchords song or something. Actually, it’s another longer, grander, more experimental track with a chorus that kicks in soon enough and is comparable in style to some of The Talking Heads‘ more out there tracks.

As for “Wallflower”, it is introduced by pan flutes and fleeting instrumental touches. You’ve guessed it, it’s a slow burner with a big build-up but this one’s much more lyric-centric than the others. Hell, the thing’s practically like a sung novella! You’ll need a lot of patience to enjoy this softer, slower effort.

We end on the much funkier “Kiss Of Life” which definitely has a Prince-esque party song vibe to it. It’s one of the most entertaining tracks on the album and it’s reliably packed with loads of crazy, layered beats throughout. It’s bizarre that this one wasn’t released as its own single but it’s certainly a nice surprise for the album’s conclusion.

All in all, if you like Peter Gabriel’s stuff, Security‘s a really good bet: chances are you’ll love every minute of it. Otherwise, you’ll probably enjoy the singles but not much more. Objectively, I’d say it’s a strong, entertaining album with some really good ideas and some cool songs.

Anyway, Peter Gabriel gets 4 Ziggies out of 5 from me.

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Peter Gabriel the album, not the guy.

Or both, whatever…

I’ll just keep calling this one Security.

Generation Freakshow – Album Review

Feeder

While Feeder haven’t quite matched how popular they were back in the early 2000’s since then, they have been hard at work on new albums. Their most recent effort was Generation Freakshow, released in 2012.

Was this the big comeback they were hoping for?

“Oh My”, the opening track, is certainly energetic and very much 100% Feeder. It’s an entertaining, melodically solid song with an enjoyable chorus and some nice touches near the end. It’s definitely one of the album’s highlights. Backing “woo’s” add an atmospheric structure to the next song, “Borders”, which was the first single to be released from the album. It’s not bad, parts of it are pretty fun, but it’s definitely a more commercial, very indie tune you’d expect The Killers to come up with.

Third single “Idaho”‘s few Nirvana-style opening seconds lead us to a surprisingly softer and more restrained effort with the odd Teen Spirit burst. Light and mostly harmless, this one. “Hey Johnny” is next and it’s an infinitely sadder, more melancholic song as it’s about the band’s former drummer Jon Lee, who committed suicide back in 2002. It’s a heartfelt track which grows on you quickly and its melody successfully delivers the emotional impact it was looking for. The song builds up to a cool, heavier ending. One of the album’s strongest and most memorable tunes.

“Quiet” is another downer with a decent core melody but, as a whole, the song’s a little too repetitive and forgettable. Those few emo Feeder fans out there should appreciate it, though. Which ain’t no bad thing. The album picks up again with “Sunrise”, a mercifully louder track with great verses but, sadly, a disappointing chorus which prevents the song from going anywhere interesting. Shame.

The title song, “Generation Freakshow”, is next and it’s an angstier track you’d probably expect more from Green Day circa American Idiot. It’s lively, varied and likeable despite the weaker chorus. Armed with a solid riff and chorus, “Tiny Minds” then comes in and it’s a fun, bitter track that’s very Feeder throughout. Some electronic sounds support the bridge in an interesting way and the whole thing’s catchy enough.

“In All Honesty” is an involving, faster-paced song with some good ideas but, ultimately, it’s in mortal danger of sounding like a tween-friendly McFly song or something. Luckily, the next song is a much better and much rockier effort. “Headstrong” may not have the catchiest of choruses but the track has a good energy to it, fair riffs and I could see this one being tons of fun live. As for “Fools Can’t Sleep”, it’s a bluesy song with a slower, folkier rhythm to it. Again, the chorus isn’t too mind-blowing but otherwise it’s a heartfelt track that, at least, has the guts to try something a bit different.

The final track, “Children Of The Sun”, is a grander, more atmospheric and experimental song which ends things on a bigger, more reflective scale. It may be too upbeat or nostalgic for some but its heart’s in the right place. Hidden acoustic track “Sky Life” is tied to it and it actually fits in rather well.

So what’s the verdict?

In all honesty, Generation Freakshow is a hard one to hate but also a tough one to truly like. We all know Feeder are capable of much better and it’s a tad frustrating to sit through an album with so few catchy and memorable tracks. You’ll probably enjoy parts of it but, by the end, you’ll struggle to recall most of it.

That’s only 2 Shady Dudes out of 5 for Feeder this time, which can sound a little harsh seeing as it definitely has its moments, but that’s only to encourage more of the good stuff.

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Heavier tracks with more inventive and head-invading choruses is what’s needed now.

Feed us, damnit!

Songs Of Innocence – Album Review

U2 Songs Of Innocence

So U2 are back and, thanks to their undying love for all things Apple, the whole world is aware of this.

A couple of days ago, the band announced the release of their new album Songs Of Innocence that same day free for all iTunes and Beats Music customers. Of course, since there are far worse things than a free brand new U2 album downloaded straight to your phone, loads of people promptly downloaded it (me included).

As potentially cool as this whole experiment sounded, I’ll admit I had reservations: for one thing, iTunes is about as user friendly as a chocolate chainsaw so accepting presents from it seems evil since this is clearly just a way for them to market research our asses through a phantom favour. Furthermore, U2’s last album, 2009’s No Line On The Horizon was honestly not very good and neither was that Spider-Man musical, by the way.

Unless hilarious means good?

Whatever, let’s give it a go.

I mean, it’s free! How bad could it be?

The album opens with an ode to Joey Ramone of all people. “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” is a strong track with a cool hook, a grungy guitar and a catchy bridge. The chorus, I’ll admit, needed to be as memorable as the rest of the song for it to really have the impact it was looking for but it’s still a clear hit and one of U2’s better recent tunes. Besides, anything paying homage to The Ramones has its heart in the right place and has good taste so no complaints here.

“Every Breaking Wave” is a slower, softer track but it remains surprisingly engaging thanks to an actually pretty melody. Already, U2’s sound seems to have evolved into something interesting and promising again. The next song is “California (There Is No End To Love)” and that one opens with the words “Santa Barbara” used as a rhythmic, repeated lyric. It’s an enjoyable if occasionally cheesy California song and it confirms that U2’s less over-produced sound works much better in that you can actually hear The Edge this time!

“Song For Someone” continues the particularly personal route the band seems to be taking in this album: it’s a sad, nostalgic song which builds slowly but really well. It’s a very typically U2 song and, armed with a strong chorus and an overall solid melody, it out-Coldplays Coldplay, showing these guys how it’s done. The fifth song on the album, “Iris (Hold Me Close)”, is dedicated to Bono’s mother. Ethereal voices open the track and the band delivers a heartfelt song that’ll perhaps be too sentimental for most. It’s harmless enough, though.

“Volcano” is one of the catchiest songs on the album. It’s entertaining and inventive both with its rhythm and its lyrics. Fun stuff. Song number 7 is “Raised By Wolves” and that one opens with a cool experimental beat I’m sure Kate Bush or Phil Collins would have been more than happy with. There’s a retro feel to that one and its chorus is sharp and involving, even if the verses don’t stand out all that much.

We then get a fab guitar-led intro for “Cedarwood Road”, which is much better than the song itself. Whenever The Edge kicks in, the track gets fun again but otherwise, it admittedly doesn’t stand out all that much. A regular electro beat leads the next one, “Sleep Like A Baby Tonight”, and when the vocals finally land it all slowly builds to its soft chorus. That comfort is broken by The Edge’s simple but effective dark riffs which elevate the song to one of the best on Songs Of Innocence. It still ends on a chilled-out vibe, oddly.

“This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” kicks off with another creative, promising beat. The track is unlike anything else on the album: a war-themed anthem which dips its toe into various styles and genres. Those reviewers criticising U2 for not experimenting probably haven’t heard this one which really is one of their most original songs in recent years. Like it or not, they try something different here and it works. Finally we have “The Troubles” which starts off with vocals by Swedish singer Lykke Li. It’s a less memorable track but it definitely has its moments. It ends the album on a thoughtful, more directly poppy note.

The physical version of the album should include a few more bonus tracks but we’ll get to those another time.

That so many people complained about seeing this album pop up in their iTunes library is ridiculous: not only is this a free album you can totally delete if you don’t like it but it’s a decent U2 album, their best in years in fact so I’d say it’s definitely worth not whining about it too much.

The good thing about Songs Of Innocence is that it looks like the band have learned from their past mistakes and decided to get back to the roots of what they’re trying to convey. The result is a proudly personal album with a handful of great songs and a whole bunch of entertaining and, at the very least, intriguing ones.

U2’s Apple-tizer receives 4 Ziggies out of 5.

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Well, more like 3 and a half but it gets an extra half point for making my currently dull playlist not so dull for a little while for free and out of f***ing nowhere.

Distortion – Album Review

Distortion

Bad albums from The Magnetic Fields are sure hard to find so an album called Distortion which would purposely distort most of its songs sounded like this could possibly be their first misstep.

I mean, there’s no way that an album filled to the brim with feedback could be any good, right?

…right?

Distortion opens with “Three-Way”, a playful instrumental intro with the odd rocky break and people shouting “Three-way!” every so often. It’s random but it sets the tone rather well, plus it gets us used to this new intentionally distorted sound. Singer Shirley Simms then takes on the satirical “California Girls” which amusingly gets darker and bloodier as it goes on. It’s catchy, pretty funny and kinda genius.

This album already looks set to be pure Magnetic Fields wit and inventive musical experimentation and we’re only like two songs in!

“Old Fools” is a slower song sung by Stephin Merritt and it’s a pretty but melancholic one with a sad vibe throughout. It feels like a long, serious, pensive march with Merritt’s usual dark vocal tones making it sound both sinister and hopeful somehow. “Xavier Says” is next and it’s a softer track sung by Simms this time. It’s an enjoyable listen even if the simple melody is supported by all that white noise.

Merritt opens the next one, “Mr Mistletoe”, with some poetic vocals before the song develops into what sounds like a gloomy, depressing Christmas tune. Luckily, the lyrics and melody are spot-on as ever. We’re then back in rockier territory with “Please Stop Dancing”, one of the best tracks on the album and one you could imagine being even cooler covered by a fast-paced punk band. Merritt and Simms both take it in turns to sing this nonchalant little anthem.

“Drive On, Driver” starts off almost like a soft country song with its slow, regular beats and Simms and Claudia Gonson’s vocals harmonising this road trippin’ tune. It’s the closest the band comes to a straight-up folk song on the album. Stephin Merritt opens “Too Drunk To Dream” a capella before this upbeat yet morose love song about boozing to avoid dreaming kicks in. Suffice it to say that it’s pretty awesome.

“Till The Bitter End” is a darker, infinitely more gothic song and Simms’ soft vocals work perfectly with the with the guitar’s occasional blunt appearances. Mr Merritt then gets to be a bit of a crooner with “I’ll Dream Alone”, another heartbreaking love song and my personal favourite track on the album. The song beautifully develops into a genuinely charming, if sad, chorus. It’s, quite simply, a gem and proves just how versatile the band can be: one second clearly joking around, the next showing up with a sweet, heartfelt song you’ll want to listen to over and over again.

Simms sings the ironic “The Nun’s Litany” with its catchy melody and its clever lyrics. It’s similar in tone to “California Girls” in that sense. Of course, the whole thing is still very much bathed in distortion. “Zombie Boy” is moodier, rockier and boasts a glam feel despite not being synth-based whatsoever. Somehow, The Magnetic Fields have managed to channel some New Wave swagger without going down the electro route and it makes for a unique, really cool song. The album ends with “Courtesans”, a soft, nostalgic track with a pretty melody and a reflective tone.

As you might have already guessed from this review so far, The Magnetic Fields have, indeed, pulled it off once again delivering a very good album that’s truly one of a kind. Distortion may be about as distorted as it gets but it’s so well written and the songs are so cleverly put together that it all blends in together perfectly and you quickly welcome its bold, risky concept.

Is it the band’s very best? That’s debatable, but it’s certainly right up there with some of their best work.

That’s 4 well earned Ziggies out of 5.

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Neighborhoods – Album Review

blink182

About 8 years following the disappearance of Blink-182 from everyone’s radar, the band finally decided to reunite and work on a new album: that album was 2011’s Neighborhoods.

The reviews were mixed for this one so let’s see if that’s justified or if some critics just didn’t get it.

The album opens with “Ghost On The Dance Floor” and a long but effective, fast-paced intro leads us to more familiar territory as we recognise the band’s style pretty much straight away. The chorus stands out as one of the best on the album and injects a dose of sadness to a tune which, it has been suggested, was possibly written with the untimely death of friend of the band DJ AM in mind. “Natives” is another energetic track which begins with a busy, hyper intro. It quickly develops into a moody, almost Placebo-esque angst-filled tune with an ironically calm chorus which somehow works surprisingly well.

“Up All Night” is the first single to be released from the album and it does build up interestingly with a more electronic sound mixed in with heavier riffs and clean vocals. The track works in waves, going faster or slower here and there and not necessarily in the expected places. A moodier chorus could have elevated this one to a more uniformly good song but I guess the fact it’s experimental is kind of the point so overall it does what it set out to do pretty well. A paced drum beat opens the more chilled-out “After Midnight” and, frankly, it’s a weird one to have released as a single seeing as the album includes far better, catchier songs. The chorus here is anti-climactic and simply lacks bite.

As for “Snake Charmer”, it crawls in with a sinuous bass and drums-led intro as a cool, heavy riff kicks in promising to be the perfect concert track. Unfortunately, the verses and chorus are far whinier than they probably should have been and you get a samey feel from the song in general. That said, the rockier parts are admittedly entertaining. The sixth song on the album is an atmospheric, vocals-less intro to the next track and it makes a fair transition.

We get a heavier, rockier start straight away with “Heart’s All Gone” and it looks set to be a genuinely worthy, punky tune… until the way too light and emo chorus. It ends up feeling not convincingly edgy despite brilliant work from drummer Travis Barker and the trio in general who are always musically sound at least.

Then comes “Wishing Well”, the real hit (and should-have-been single) of the album: it’s pure Blink-182 complete with a playful sing-a-long bridge and a very catchy chorus. It’s possibly the most memorable and consistent song on the album, probably because it develops well and ends up being ultimately a lot of fun. Another decent tune follows, “Kaleidoscope”, and this time we get Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge working together on the vocals more directly. It’s a typical track from the band but in a good way.

Now, if you like your songs packed with meaningless sounds like “ah ah aye” and “high ho” then the next track, “This Is Home”, is the track for you. It’s not bad (if nothing special) but it does sound like it was half written by the Seven Dwarves, which is a tad distracting. The beautifully titled “MH 4.18.2011” (originally meant to be called “Hold On”) sadly never really takes off so the more serious lyrics don’t really have an impact. This is the kind of track that Green Day, like it or not, can pull off really well and although the song does have some nice parts here and there it’s sort of forgettable.

“Love Is Dangerous” goes for a different beat and, armed with a memorable chorus, it somehow manages to be one of the best songs on the album even if I’m still not sure what the hell “Love is DANGEROHS” means. It could just be DeLonge’s odd pronunciation of that last word, though, I don’t know…

“Fighting The Gravity” is a slower, more experimental, still rather angsty track which inventively uses the words ‘This makes no sense’ as a recurring backing motif. Incidentally, the song is a bit messy. Finally, we end on “Even If She Falls”, a track very reminiscent of the band’s past hit “All The Small Things”. It’s an entertaining track and its familiarity should make fans of the old stuff nostalgic as it really is 100% Blink-182 all the way.

Well well, what to make of Neighborhoods?

Funnily enough, the album benefits from repeat listens. I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan upon hearing it for the first time but a few songs on the album have grown on me over time so I could see fans of the band have a good time with this one. Actually, while uneven, the album is a very solid comeback album for Blink-182 with some hidden hits in there and promising new touches.

However, Neighborhoods really could have used more variety in terms of the songs and bolder, more unexpected moves as a lot of it either sounds too familiar or too tame. Perhaps exploring the electronic aspect could be an idea or just going all-out punk, putting the emo angst aside for a bit?

Also, that good old sense of humour simply must return.

Overall, that’s 3 Teary Punks out of 5.

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Fair effort.