Album Review: Wiped Out! by The Neighbourhood

Written by JamieLDoherty

It wasn’t so long ago that The Neighbourhood and The 1975 were completely indistinguishable from each other.

For one, having toured together across Northern America, their fashion senses briefly intertwined into one big mess of snapbacks and tattoos – making themselves literally indistinguishable, but there was also a shared use of anonymous black and white imagery to go with the less obvious similarities in musical ethos.

[video: align:center] Source: When The Gramophone Rings

To create their self-titled debut album, The 1975 mashed their love of John Hughes movies with every flavour of pop music imaginable, whilst The Neighbourhood did similarly with more American influences and less eighties nostalgia. The results from each band were bold, ambitious, and just a little unique. Matt Healy, the ever-quotable front man of The 1975, put this down to the changing ways people, including themselves, look at music;

‘…no person of my generation consumes any media in a linear format. It’s like the human eye – it’s from all over the place.’
Source: The Guardian

It’s an interesting point, how no one really defines themselves as a listener of one particular genre anymore. Where people used to go to record stores and buy CDs from one section, they now go on Spotify or YouTube and flit from Justin Bieber to Nina Simone to anything in between. It’s such an obvious observation that you wonder why more bands don’t have such an eclectic approach to music, instead of always aiming to sound most like a ‘guitar band’ (cough, The Vaccines, Sundara Karma etc).

Fast-forward to now and the two bands are beginning to diverge.

The 1975, buoyed by their commercial success and almost boyband level following, have pushed on with the extravagant nature of their debut album. ‘Love Me’, our first peek at the band’s new material, is an almost excessive indulgence in eighties music – filled with influences from Duran Duran, Bowie, and Van Halen.

The Neighbourhood on the other hand, look to refine what they made previously with their new album, Wiped Out!

Where their debut, I Love You, was a result of consuming the work of others, Wipe Out! Could be seen as the complete opposite – taking influence from themselves. Throughout the album, with the exception of ‘Baby Come Home 2/Valentines’, there are elements to suggest that the bands previously most successful single, ‘Sweater Weather’, has been used as a template to work from.

What results is a much less intense record that could produce a number of radio-played singles. Thinking cynically, that was probably the plan all along, but rather than being a watered-down commercial enterprise, the album still holds the emotional integrity of I Love You but with a more accessible, groove-laden base.

Opening numbers, ‘Prey’, ‘Cry Baby’, and the title track follow that description most closely. The overall feel has a kind of laid back, Lana Del Rey style beach vibe, while the bass, reverb, and vocal style are very reminiscent of The Weeknd.

Stand out tracks

‘The Beach’ drips with emotion, with singer Jesse almost crying out in pain rather than singing. As was mentioned in New Music Monday, the track is just crying out for a visual montage – one with rain machines and someone staring into the middle distance. It’s certainly cinematic, more 8 Mile era Eminem than Libertines wannabies.

The rest of the album mostly follows suit. ‘Baby Come Home 2/Valentines’, as mentioned earlier, stands out as a more expansive number, but predominately the second half just acts as a support act to the final number and stand out track.

‘R.I.P. 2 My Youth’ is an anthem of post-adolescence. Sung with the swagger and conviction of Drake, the song is the condensed form of everything good about The Neighbourhood – the mood is cinematically dark, the lyrics are genuine, it’s dramatic, it has the classic clean-sounding guitar that always gets overlooked but is actually really nice – it’s glorious. The track is a fitting close to what I consider to be a brilliant, forward-thinking album.

Are you a fan of The Neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments below!