The Neighbourhood's 'Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones' album review
Sweater weather is looking a little bit different for The Neighbourhood this year. The alternative rock band from California is taking a dramatic - or chromatic - shift on their latest album "Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones."
The Neighbourhood is known for their signature dark and mysterious alternative rock sound; they are the poster band for 2013 Tumblr music. The band took icons such as The 1975, BROCKHAMPTON and even Travis Scott on their first American tours. They have always made music that makes you feel like a badass when you listen to it, the best being older tracks like “Female Robbery” or “Dangerous.”
Over the past couple of years, frontman Jesse Rutherford has released some solo projects that show off the music he personally wanted to make. His first solo album "&" is dreamy, gritty and electronic, unlike anything The Neighbourhood has released before. I think this was Rutherford’s way of letting fans get a taste of the future. Rutherford’s second solo album "GARAGEB&" was entirely composed on the app Garage Band. It’s an extremely well-executed but glorified Soundcloud album.
Before even listening to any songs off the new album, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be any part of it. Last year, after the tour was over for Rutherford and the band, they all went MIA. The band had deleted everything from their Instagram and Rutherford had deactivated his profile entirely. On Aug. 14, 2019, a random account called “chipchrome” popped up on my feed with a picture of someone in a full silver suit.
After that, Rutherford continued to pose in a silver outfit – I mean head to toe fully chrome silver outfit - all the time. I’ve seen Rutherford do a lot of crazy and questionable things over the years, but nothing has ever really made me ask what the hell they were doing. I didn’t understand it, and I honestly still don’t, but I was prepared for anything. “Middle of Somewhere” was the first song I heard in this new "chrome era" and it made me even more confused. The song features an acoustic guitar and alludes back to the band’s older music such as “Baby Came Home.”
The band has hovered around a few different genres over the years, making it even harder to find a good way to describe "Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones." The intro track “Chip Chrome” has techno vibes that take you to an entirely different planet. The R&B vibes from Rutherford’s solo tracks such as “Barbie & Ken” get their chance to shine on “BooHoo.” On their last album, "Hard To Imagine The Neighbourhood Ever Changing" they stepped away from their traditional alternative rock sound and started to move closer to alternative pop. “Lost in Translation” and “Devil’s Advocate” shift the band into this sexy dance pop scene. Cooling things down with slower more vocal tracks like “Pretty Boy” and “Silver Lining,” you kind of get a taste of everything.
The Neighbourhood has fully embodied the "Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones" era. You get a little bit of the future and a little bit of the past; a little bit of techno with a little bit of smooth jazz; a little bit of chrome, while still being monotone. I’m excited about where the band plans to take their newfound sound. A lot of their fans are starting to grow out of their emo Tumblr phase and I’m glad to see they are doing the same.