Album Reviews

November 11, 2015

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It is now possible on iTunes to pay $1.29 for a song that’s absolutely silent. Thanks to The Neighbourhood’s newest album, Wiped Out!, the opening track “A Moment of Silence” is just that—30 seconds of muteness.

What an odd choice. At first, I thought something was wrong with my headphones until I realized it was intentional. “A Moment of Silence” is a statement. They waste 30 seconds of precious recording time as a gesture to respect and mourn the loss of something. After listening through the album, it’s apparent that The Neighbourhood is mourning the old band and ultimately, their old selves. If you were hoping for a more matured duplicate of their debut album, I Love You, then you will be sorely disappointed. I understand their choice to open with “A Moment of Silence” but I still find it annoying.

“The Prey” relieves the silent tension with an infectious beat. It’s very reminiscent of a song you could find on I Love You, but Jesse Rutherford’s vocals are a little more raw and the background drums echo as if they are playing in a garage instead of a studio. I like this song’s texture a lot. Unfortunately, it’s only one of three songs that I like on this record.

I respect that The Neighbourhood experimented on Wiped Out! but I think they get lost in making it grittier than their last. For example, the title track “Wiped Out!” is painful to listen to. It’s over six minutes long—one minute has Rutherford’s inaudible mutterings against haphazard music in the background. The rest of the song is pure noise with competing drums, roaring guitars and other unrecognizable instruments. I don’t have enough self control to listen through the entire song.

From “Wiped Out!,” all the way to “Ferrari,” are songs that are either too gloomy, too uninteresting, or just plain bad. Thankfully, “Single” and “R.I.P. to My Youth” close out the album on a pleasurable note.

Throughout Wiped Out!, the band is trying to put to death their old image and redefine themselves. I’m still trying to understand what was so bad about I Love You that caused the band to take such drastic measures to differentiate themselves from the past. The Neighbourhood sacrificed a lot of authenticity to make this album and it shows in almost every song.

Wiped Out! has me worried about how The Neighbourhood will perform live at The Big Ticket on December 6 in Jacksonville, FL. Judging by the lack of quality in Wiped Out!, I think their only option in giving a great performance is singing a lot of crowd favorites from I Love You. I sincerely hope the band proves me wrong and their new songs are surprisingly great live. I still consider myself a fan of their music but now I have to be more selective.

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October 22, 2015Borns-Dopamine

Dopamine, BØRNS’ first full-length album, was released on October 16. It’s the type of album you want to listen to on repeat and—just like the neurotransmitter—will bath your brain’s pleasure centers. After finally listening to the heavily anticipated debut, waiting for his live performance in Jacksonville on December 6 at The Big Ticket festival is more difficult than ever.

In the wake of his spectacular single “Electric Love,” it’s hard to believe that the rest of Dopamine could compete in its wake. However, after listening to each track, we can rest assured. By balancing Dopamine’s edgy and authentic melodies without compromising the intelligence in his lyrics, BØRNS has accomplished a feat that many alternative artists strive for.

BØRNS distinguishes himself quite well as more than just another indie-pop artist. He incorporates 80’s synths, 70’s funk rock, old-school beachy vibes, fantasy, and everything in-between. Dopamine sounds reminiscent of Muse’s The 2nd Law (2012) and MGMT’s Ocular Spectacular (2007), but stands out in its own style of glam rock, raising the standard of what we can expect from rock alternative.

Dopamine gets a whimsical start with the opening track “10,000 Emerald Pools” and “Dug My Heart.” From there, BØRNS reminds us why his record deserves to be famous with “Electric Love”—the single that started it all. We’re lead through different moods throughout the rest of Dopamine and yet, it all is unmistakably the product of BØRNS.

Our Favorites:

American Money: If “Electric Love” is about the way BØRNS’ muse makes him feel, then “American Money” displays the love story that triggers the electric sparks. It sounds like the male response to a Lana Del Rey song centered on adventure and being in love. It’s a little more serious, a little more moody, but the trap-inspired chorus will keep you singing this track long after Dopamine concludes.

The Emotion: This is the point in the album where you think to yourself, “Okay, now he’s just showing off.” In my opinion, no other song on the album display’s BØRNS’ vocal talent quite as clearly as this. “The Emotion” is delivered beautifully and emotionally without being too heavy.

Holy Ghost– I’m not sure which is better: the 70’s funk or religious themes illustrating a relationship charged with equal parts love and lust. Blasphemous or not, the lyrics are intelligent. Overall, this song is just plain fun.