Blink 182 – Neighborhoods – Review

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Being that bands like Blink 182, Lagwagon, and Bodyjar, shaped the musical pallet of my early years, I always hold them closer than the newly spawned artists of today, not to mention my fondness for dick jokes. After their over-analyzed experimental self-titled effort alienated enough pop punk fans, the band had a falling out. In this corner Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker formed the “I’m playing carefree pop punk but I’m old” band +44, while Tom Delonge with his cloudy-minded conspiracy theories formed the space rock outfit, Angels & Airwaves. Clearly at creative wits end, the trio pinballed around different projects, always offering less than the sum of their whole. Only until the tragic jet crash in which Travis and DJ AM miraculously survived, did the trio put aside petty disagreements and feuds to work together once again, which they awkwardly pronounced at the 2009 Grammy’s. The fruition of the bands efforts came full circle with the release of their first album in eight years, “Neighborhoods.

It’s no surprise that each band member excerised their respective creative freedoms during the bands hiatus, but what is truly unexpected was how well each one’s newly crafted style would mesh when the band reformed for their new album. From the nostalgic opener “Ghost On The Dance Floor,” to the ready-for-radio single “Up All Night,” and the atmospheric, effects-flexing song “Fighting The Gravity,” the trio has made sure every one of their ideas has landed on the record, without band-ending tension or disputes — and wouldn’t you know it, it works. We are welcomed in to a sound that fans have missed for so long, Tom and Mark’s signature teamed vocals, a balance of Californian accented crooning and a clear, over gelled, set of hair backing vocals which are tracked above the swift punky fretwork pulled from Tom’s signature Gibson ES-333 and thumping bass recorded from which ever blue four-stringed Fender Strat Mark has lying around at the moment. Don’t fret, Travis isn’t left out, fresh off the release of his solo effort, he puts his latin-inspired technical kit magic to work, most notably on songs like “After Midnight” and “Kaleidoscope.

On the whole, Blink 182‘s traditional bouncy, carefree pop rock does feel aged for the better on “Neighborhoods,” but we expected as much seeing as each of these punk pioneers are now responsible fathers and have fully outgrown garage production rock. Also, Angels And Airwaves’ influence feels prominent, alternating from peppy punk into progressive rock tracks when no one’s looking, etc the Box Car Racer-esque song “Snake Charmer,” “Love Is Dangerous” and the delay pedal-ready track “Fighting The Gravity.”  The songs that really pull me back to the late 90′s and early 00′s however are the fast-paced punk outings that feel like nostaglic Blink, like the rushing and catchy “Heart’s All Gone” and “Natives” — both of which prove that we don’t need experimental fluff and effects pedals to fully embrace a worthwhile, head-bobbing track.

Speaking of that, one of my favorites off the album (besides the high replay valued “Up All Night“) isn’t some technically tracked, atmospheric opus, but rather the easily digestible “Wishing Well,” which screams carefree Blink 182 – the trio that used to sing about going on dates with girls, meeting girls at rock shows, and seeing ex-girlfriends with new guys, and keeping it all in perspective with tons of dick and fart jokes. Some may not appreciate the “retreading” many of the songs indulge in, even if the beginning tread was made by them, but this record is so much more than a simple nostalgia listen. The boys are back, maybe a little more grown up and experienced this time around, but “Neighborhoods” perfectly exhibits all of Blink 182‘s progressive sounds over the years in one tidy package. Hehe I said package. [Staff]

Score: 4.25 (out of 5)

Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Record Label: Interscope Records
Genre: Pop Rock
RIYL: Blink 182, Angels And Airwaves, New Found Glory

Track Listing:
1. Ghost on the Dance Floor
2. Natives
3. Up All Night
4. After Midnight
5. Snake Charmer
6. Heart’s All Gone Interlude
7. Heart’s All Gone
8. Wishing Well
9. Kaleidoscope
10. This Is Home
11. MH 4.18.2011
12. Love Is Dangerous
13. Fighting the Gravity
14.Even If She Falls

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