A multi-dimensional musical experience
American alternative rock band The Neighbourhood, founded in Newbury Park, California, returns after their hit “Sweater Weather” with a collection of more music that is dressed to impress. The five-member band, consisting of Jesse Rutherford, Zach Abels, Brandon Alexander Fried, Mikey Margott and Jeremy Freedman, produced an album that is heavily themed with the atypical. Their album Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones follows a theme that resembles a dystopian vintage film, complete with a sort of main character that seems to be a front-and-center component of the music. The result is a collection that, when listened to, resembles watching a film.
Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones is a full-bodied and dynamic album that follows the band’s classic moody, low-tempo rock style while simultaneously incorporating many different styles of music that are blended seamlessly into one collection. The album starts with “Chip Chrome” to set the mood, named after the possible protagonist of the film-like album assumed to be so by the title of the album itself. It’s a sci-fi sounding, 30-second intro that features sparkling instrumentals sounding familiar to those who have watched older movies of that genre.
The bulk of the album then comes into play, the first full track being “Pretty Boy,” a smooth love ballad presenting sweet lyrics with a delicate delivery, the vocals bringing the true beauty of the song to light. “Lost in Translation” follows with a bit of a contrast, a more high-speed track with a play in drum beats. “Devil’s Advocate” begs for attention, the slow tempo, and velvety vocals drawing the listener in to whisper what it has to say. “Cherry Flavoured” charms the listener with steady instrumentals that are played up by both front and backstage vocals. “Hell or High Water” imitates the steady instrumentals from “Cherry Flavoured,” but turns it into a completely different idea with additional whistle-like sounds and a more articulate anthem.
The “intermission,” per se, of the album, occurs with the track “The Mono-Tones,” a short melody seeming to speak of voices in one’s head and what comes with them. With “BooHoo,” the album circles back to a love song succeeding the intermission, short and breathy vocals intertwined with lengthier ones, garnished with a bit of synth to create a piece that feels much lighter and less serious than “Pretty Boy.” The final three tracks, “Silver Lining,” “Tobacco Sunburst” and “Middle of Somewhere” conclude the story with mellow themes that, between the three, alternate between brighter and more melancholy chords, ultimately ending with a satisfactory tenderness.
The Neighbourhood brings an interesting take on album themes to the table, deviating from the classic themes that pertain to an artist’s personal life and themes that speak of current events. In doing so, the band has created a refreshing and exciting twist to the ordinary album with Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones, proving even further their incredible talents as individual artists as well as a collective band.