It’s been two years since their last album, I Love You, but The Neighbourhood is finally back at it again. If the three preview songs released from their latest album, Wiped Out!, are anything to go off, the group is further finding a voice that sets them apart from the rest, while simultaneously staying true to their dark tone from their previous album. Wiped Out! is set to be released on Oct. 30.
One of the singles, “Prey,” is a catchy but somber song about two people who don’t connect as well as they should, much to the dismay of lead singer Jesse Rutherford. Lyrics such as, “So I’ll probably take you aside / And tell you what’s on my mind / But you, you’ll just keep it inside” paint a realistic picture of a relationship that’s lost its spark. It also illustrates the pains of a person who is attempting to save a broken relationship that the other person has no intention of fixing. This is reflected musically in the song by switching between a simple guitar and drum pattern and a looming bass with eerie echoes from the plucking of a guitar. Rutherford is trying to stay positive and solve the problem, but whoever he’s singing to is distant and already checked out of what the two had previously shared. All that remains are distant memories.
Their other single, “The Beach,” is a spiritual successor to “Prey,” as the song is the regretful acceptance of the death of a relationship. The song is laced with references to self-blame and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts. Rutherford’s voice trudges through a thick fog, heavily reverberated synths, plucked notes from a crisp guitar and deep bass. This is all kept together by the harsh smacking of drumsticks and snares. His weariness is a constant throughout the song, only offset by his softened screams as he approaches an undesirable truth as the song goes on. The only moments of clarity come from the lyrics, “I think I could see the beach / Just don’t look underneath us,” as Rutherford knows that his expectations of the relationship couldn’t save it from the real problems that were lying beneath it, and he is forced to acknowledge that his paradise is nothing more than an over-idealistic and unattainable dream.
The final song, “R.I.P. 2 My Youth,” has Rutherford singing about a number of things, most notably the death of his innocence. Constant references to being a sinner, the feeling of uncertainty and death are constants in the song. Rutherford feels as if going through the motions of everyday life just aren’t worth it, and he’d rather be dead than suffer in life. “Tell my sister don’t cry and don’t be sad / I’m in paradise with Dad” are a few lyrics among many that express Rutherford’s thoughts of wanting to find a release from the hardships of life through death. The song sounds like the mourning process during a funeral; church organs and booming bass kicks from the drums are honoring the mortal words of the recently deceased Rutherford in the song.
If these three preview tracks are any reflection of what the full album will sound like, The Neighbourhood will continue with their haunting sound and even push the envelope a bit further. It’s certainly not uplifting, but it’s sentimental in its own haunting way. Hopefully, Wiped Out! will avoid the infamous sophomore slump for the group and be the dark paradise that fans are looking for.