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The Neighbourhood

Justin Bettman

The Neighbourhood


Up Close with The Neighbourhood

L.A. Act Finds the Sweet Spot Between Pop and Hip-Hop


If you’ve had your ear to the radio in recent months, chances are you’re familiar with The Neighbourhood. The quartet hails from Los Angeles by way of nearby Newbury Park and mixes slick pop song construction with hip-hop–infused guitar rock. They’re also easily one of the most buzzed-about bands to come out of 2012. Since dropping debut EP I’m Sorry … in August, The Neighbourhood has found fans all over the globe, thanks to European tours, BBC-1 plugs, and one very big label deal with Columbia Records.

The catalyst came by way of single “Sweater Weather,” a dark and funky little gem that falls somewhere between Justin Timberlake’s swagger and Foster the People’s frenetic energy. Ask the guys to cite their influences, and you’ll be met with an equally eclectic mix of names and styles. “I know [frontman] Jesse [Rutherford] listened to N*Sync and a lot of hip-hop growing up,” recalled drummer Bryan Sammis recently via email. “For the rest of us it ranges from Metallica to Buffalo Springfield — we enjoy all types of music as a whole. We are really influenced by what we want to hear. We’d love to tour with someone like the Gorillaz or The Cardigans.”

As a whole, I’m Sorry … falls in line with The Neighbourhood’s self-described “black & white” aesthetic; it’s dark and gloomy, meticulously produced, and undeniably earwormy. There’s a sense of foreboding that runs throughout its five tracks, aided by sizzling electronic drums and vocal breakdowns that practically beg for audience participation.

On Wednesday, February 20, The Neighbourhood brings its dramatic brand of glossy pop rock to SOhO as part of a monthlong West Coast tour. Not long after, the band unveils its highly anticipated full-length album, due out some time this April. “It’s definitely a progression,” said Sammis of the forthcoming release. “It takes the EP from low definition to high definition.”

As for The Neighbourhood’s arrival, Sammis still feels like it’s only just beginning. “I think that it’s happening now,” he said. “We definitely know we have a ways to go, and we know where we want to be, but sitting in Australia answering interview questions seems pretty fucking awesome to me.”

The Neighbourhood plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1220 State St.) on Wednesday, February 20, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.

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