The Neighbourhood surprises listeners again with their unique sound on their latest album Chip Chrome & The Mono-tones that was released Sept. 25th. Lead singer, Jesse Rutherford, adopts the persona of Chip Chrome, inspired by Bowie’s iconic Ziggy Stardust, to tackle the vocals on this project. This character, dressed in a silver suit, metallic paint and a mis-matched red and blue eye look, embodies the alien-esque instrumentals of the album.
The stark contrast between tracks on the album document The Neighbourhood’s ability to master a multitude of genres. From the funky 70s inspired “Lost in Translation,” to delicate and nostalgia inducing “Tobacco Sunrise,” listeners experience range on this album.
Since their debut, the growth in their music is apparent. Their 2014 mixtape, #000000 & #FFFFFF, was the band’s first attempt of branching out. Though it was well received, it failed to catch the eye of the general public due to The Neighbourhood’s recent emergence as a group. It demonstrated their ability to venture out of their typical alternative style and into R&B, Hip-Pop, and Jazz. Their second more experimental project, Hard to Imagine The Neighbourhood Ever Changing, included a number of stellar songs. However, it lacked direction due to its excessive number of tracks, which rather than a cohesive album, resembled miscellanea. On their latest album, they solved this issue by limiting it to only 11 tracks. The band has undoubtedly refined their skills to produce an improved and conceptual record.
Although it could be argued that every song on this album is its own individual masterpiece, “Hell or High Water,” with its SpongeBob-like instrumentals and soft melody remains a personal favorite. Among fans, it seemed to be least liked of the collection.
Many of the songs explore more painful topics like codependency and insecurities which is usual for The Neighbourhood. The abnormality on this album lies in the use of major chords which masks the melancholic themes of the lyrics.
Subjectively, Chip Chrome and The Monotones is undeniably the best album of 2020 so far. Every track was captivating and flowed seamlessly into the next. It seems The Neighbourhood has finally developed their sound and learned to execute it perfectly.