If you didn’t like their self-titled record, forget about Neighborhoods. For those of us who did and enjoy both +(44) and Angel & Airwaves, Neighborhoods is the perfect amalgamation of all those parts. Since the release of their “grown up” album in 2003, blink 182 have broken up, formed all kinds of bands and eventually found their way back to each other to create Neighborhoods. Almost two years since reuniting, Neighborhoods is the prime example that a band needs to rediscover the magic before rushing to release a new disc.
Before you fret, “Ghost on the Dance Floor” is indeed a blink 182 song, not an Angels & Airwaves b-side. Sure, the opening keys sound like it could’ve been lifted from A &A but once Travis Barker kicks in with the drums, you’ll be able to stop holding your breath that the reunion was a joke and this is all some awful April Fool’s Joke. “Natives” is a lot more blink-ish with its’ fast pace while Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus trade off the verses and choruses. So is “Heart’s All Gone”. Make no mistake, though, this is the next step forward for blink 182, not a step back.
As a whole, it’s a really solid album that relies as much on blink’s past (and influences) as it does its’ wide open future. Clearly, Robert Smith’s guest appearance on blink 182 has had an enormous impact in the writing of Neighborhoods. Think of this as a punk rock Disintegration especially on the versatile “Snake Charmer” that has elements of that record all over it but slams you over the noggin with a very Quicksand-like riff or “Love Is Dangerous” or the trippy “Fighting The Gravity”. What I’m saying is that if Robert Smith ever needs to breathe some new life into The Cure, he might wanna put DeLonge and Hoppus on the payroll as ghost writers.
This is not Dude Ranch, this ain’t even Enema of the State. Blink 182 have never apologized for growing up and they shouldn’t have to. They’re not that joke band anymore but it doesn’t mean they still can’t have fun making music together and that’s exactly what Neighborhoods is: The sounds of a grown-up blink 182 making fun music together. Luckily for the fans, it happens to be some pretty damn good music, too.
Neighborhoods is out now.
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