“The Neighborhood,” a step into a new neighborhood

“The Neighborhood brings fans to the neighborhood, going house to house and knocking on doors to see what’s happening inside.”

The Neighborhood released a self titled album on March 9, taking a step back to a very lyric-based, calm style that is relatively new to the band.

The Neighborhood, sometimes rendered as THE NBHD, is an American indie rock band from Newbury Park, California. After releasing two EPs, The Neighborhood released its first full-length album “I Love You.” on April 23, 2013, which was the parent of long-time alternative fan-favorite “Sweater Weather.”

The band’s second album, “Wiped Out!” was released Oct. 30, 2015, including popular tracks “Cry Baby” and “R.I.P. 2 My Youth.”

A running theme for the band was a very heavy production choice. It was mostly manufactured with heavy synths and bass. The production was certainly intended to be the forefront of the tracks. This is especially evident in tracks such as “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” and “Flawless” from its debut album, “I Love You.”

This theme backs off in “Wiped Out!” and shows the band’s growing interest in lyrics being the forefront of tracks.

“The Neighborhood,” the band’s newest album, takes this one step further. While still maintaining a number of tracks that are very classic to the group, there is an obvious theme of a quieter, more laid back production and a focus on lyric choice.

A fan can listen to the entire album without changing their volume, which is certainly intentional. The lyrics are meant to be listened to with little to no interruption. This shift brings what has always been incredible lyric writing to the forefront.

The choice to self-title the album is interesting as well. This being the band’s third studio album, it’s a choice that is certainly intentional. Perhaps it is an album that the band strongly identifies with, or it is supposed to immerse the listener into “the neighborhood.”

Whether “the neighborhood” is real or not, it is interesting to imagine lines of homes in a city, each filled with individuals whose lives match with each track.

The album art is reminiscent of this theme, as well. The cover is a photo rather than an illustration, adding a very “real life” element to each track.

The album’s lead single is “Scary Love,” which embodies the classic elements that The Neighborhood has worked to create with “I Love You.” and “Wiped Out!” while still introducing this new step back from heavy production. It breaks from very monotone, lyric-heavy verses to a synth and bass led refrain. This track is the new, scared lovers that just moved in.

Another leading track is “Flowers,” which embodies its name well. It is a soft production choice with overpowering vocals. This aids in adding a deep emotional connection to the song. “Flowers” is an older couple in the middle of the street that haven’t slept in the same room in years.

Another of the most popular tracks is “Softcore,” the stark contrast to what the band has been building with this album. It is a step back into “I Love You.” focusing on a heavy production, very reminiscent of “Afraid” and “Flawless.” “Softcore” may even take it a step further, the deep bass and synths seemingly very intentionally placed, rather than just the background track for the song. This is the bad-boy in the neighborhood.

The Neighborhood brings fans to the neighborhood, going house to house and knocking on doors to see what’s happening inside.