JAMES H. COLLINS
The Neighbourhood, "I Love You" (Columbia)
All you need to know about the Los Angeles-based quintet The Neighbourhood can be heard on two of the group's previously released singles, "Sweater Weather" and "Female Robbery" -- now included on debut album, "I Love You."
"Sweater Weather" is perfect amalgam of R&B flavorings, hip-hop beats and edgy punk aesthetic with a dash of boy-band confection. It's remarkable how seamlessly these styles mix in this 4-minute track. A whimsical motif is laid out with an infectious pop melody both brooding and bright. At 2:20 the beat drops out, replaced by three simple guitar chords. When the beat returns, the tempo has slowed, serving as wonderful bridge to the song's final minute.
The concoction works just as successfully on "Female Robbery." Another intriguing motif spun out in lyrics with staccato bursts, matched with a crooned chorus floating above a hard-hitting groove.
In these two songs the band's sense of what constitutes an addictive pop beat is spot on.
Replicating this fascinating recipe on the album's remaining nine tracks proves to be beyond The Neighbourhood's reach, however. The clever motifs are exhausted quickly, the beats get repetitive and the crooning becomes tiresome.
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