The Neighbourhood released a five song extended play (EP) Jan. 12 titled “To Imagine,” introducing elements of disco pop to the band’s alternative sound.
The record, running just under 18 minutes, consists primarily of love songs which rely heavily on synthesizers to convey a 1970s feel. The disco-electronica songs have driving beats and simple rhymes that are simultaneously edgy and happy. The record has been released at an opportune time to promote The Neighbourhood’s upcoming tour.
“To Imagine” is the second EP record released in less than two years (“Hard” was released in 2017). The band hasn’t released a full album since “Wiped Out!” in 2015. This EP seems to be a transition for the band into more upbeat music. Catchy and simple retro percussion is the predominant new stylistic element of “To Imagine,” and perhaps more of a pop element in The Neighbourhood’s music will mean a more mainstream audience. The EP shows a lot of promise for the band.
“Scary Love” was released as a single Dec. 4. It relies heavily on synthesizers and reminds people of a style similar to Foster the People or Portugal. The Man. The single is catchy and repetitive with a chorus of, “Your love is scaring me/No one has ever cared for me/As much as you do.”
The penultimate song, “Compass,” consists of charming love lyrics over a disco-style backbeat. Vocalist Jesse Rutherford likens the muse of the song to a compass when he sings, “I might get lost without you” in falsetto.
“Heaven” is a song that sounds most like The Neighbourhood’s older music. “Heaven” is brooding— a style that’s associated with past music by the band, quite like the song “Afraid” from the 2013 album “I Love You.” It’s still a love song, but with a longing, melancholy feel. Rutherford’s lyrics are haunting when he sings, “You remind me of my mom/ You make me feel like God.”
The first song on the EP, “Dust”, uses autotune and other digital editing techniques on the vocals and a steady drum beat lies underneath. “Stuck With Me,” also released as a single in 2017, masks honest and poignant lyrics such as “I just want your empathy” and “What is reality?” behind upbeat dance music. It serves as the concluding song of the record.
Overall, “To Imagine” is full of songs which convey human emotion well, especially common love themes, in a slick, danceable manner. The band — whose music is primarily alternative pop rock with techno influence — seems to be making a shift from the more cynical and brooding to an upbeat style.
“To Imagine” can’t be called party music, but it’s an extremely fun record regardless. The EP wouldn’t be what it is without its drums. The backbeats of the songs on the record sound fairly similar to one another, but the lyrical differences add flavor. Tickets go on sale Jan. 19 and can be purchased on the band’s website.
The EP is available for streaming at https://open.spotify.com/album/1xHCCotLePVxUhgxckUtLB.