I have a lot of friends who are musicians, just by virtue of what I do for a living, as well as the fact that I write about music as a side gig. Wait, is it a “gig” if you don’t get paid for it? Anyway…
…Because many of my friends are musicians, I have to grit my teeth through…well, not so much bad music, but a lot of unmemorable music. Inevitably, my opinion will be asked, and I’ll be put in a situation where I have to dance my way out of a negative face-to-face review. One of the few things that makes me more uncomfortable than confrontation is lying. However, I’d also like to think that I value friendship a great deal. So what I’m trying to say is…having musician friends often puts me in uncomfortable, awkward situations.
Some of my friends, however, are pretty fucking talented. Case in point, fellow writer and podcast co-host Michael Cunningham. His band, Neighbours, just released their debut album, Prime Numbers, and it’s pretty dope. It’s a delightfully low-fi meld of garage rock and Northern soul with a little bit of modern influence coming through in the lyrics. It’s a compact, enjoyable set that I’d actually listen to (and enjoy) if Cunningham wasn’t a friend. Trust me, he’s not peering over my shoulder as I type this. We’re in different states. I’m serious.
At any rate, the Pittsburgh-based foursome (which also includes Ross Reilly on guitar and vocals, Joe Tarowsky on bass and vocals and Andy Mulkerin on drums) boasts some knockout tunes, with my personal favorites being “No Car” and “Real Talk,” which finds Cunningham and company in Levi Stubbs-“Bernadette” mode. As their bio says, they offer straight up rock ‘n roll with no hipster additives, falling in line with bands like The Black Keys. Actually, and I might be shot for saying this, but several songs on Prime Numbers are reminiscent of “Walkin’ On The Sun”/”Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love”-style Smash Mouth (this is a compliment, dear reader.)
See, if I was being sycophantic, that last sentence wouldn’t even exist.
Three years after forming, it sounds like Neighbours is just getting started. Make sure you check out Prime Numbers. Personally, I’m excited to hear what comes next (and hope that the members find themselves in New England at some point in the near future.)