Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review: Blink-182 - Neighborhoods

 Considered to be the most anticipated rock release of 2011, Californian punk trio finally return after eight years with sixth album, Neighborhoods. They've gone through a lot over their time away and all that has occurred during the making of this album has been met with extreme negativity, wether it be pulling out of tours to concentrate more on the making of the album despite being given three years to do so, or delaying the release for some other material. So despite the fact that original delight spread when the reunion was first announced has long since faded away, it's now time for Tom, Travis and Mark to take back the joy and hysteria by offering their first release since 2003. And wouldn't you know, it's a pretty sweet album.

Much speculation has been put on this album as to the kind of style Blink would return with. Lead single Up All Night left many assuming that the new album would essentially rip off Tom DeLonge's part time group Angels & Airwaves, however the following release Heart's All Gone then delivered a rapid punk song that wouldn't feel out of place on 1997s Dude Ranch. And I think that kind of idea represents this album as a whole. Neighborhoods manages to combine every style that Blink have gone through but manages to reach a compromise with it. They create the kind of rapid adrenaline fueled punk heard on Dude Ranch without using any fart gags or lyrics about cow tipping and dog humping and also take the kind of electronic effects and experimentalism that was present on their 2003 self-titled album without using dwindling six minute epics or frankly bizarre duets. Robert Smith is nowhere to be found on this album.
 Neighborhoods as an albums does present listeners with a dynamic retrospective of all of Blink-182's previous work, redesigned and worked together to create a new set of unique punk rock songs all of which burst with a sense of energy and emotion. The dramatic and mature sound we last heard in 2003 is best demonstrated in tracks like Ghost On the Dance Floor and Kaleidoscope whilst Up All Night and Snake Charmer presents listeners with a style similar but combined with DeLonge's use of power chords which gave 2001s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket a much heavier sound. Elsewhere, the rapid fire punk assaults that were found on Dude Ranch are recreated with a sense of maturity and progress in terms of lyrics and vocal styles in Hearts All Gone and Natives while the catchy and glossy-yet jagged sound that made Enema of the State so popular is paid homage to in Wishing Well and This is Home sounding like the possible result of what would happen if more electronic effects from 2003 were added to the 1999 release.
 Obviously Blink-182 are looking to create an emotional and serious feel in their songs and this is achieved with many tracks having an overall romantic sound to them but at the same time remaining fun and bouncy and heavy in their pop punk glory.
 Neighborhoods on the whole is a really cool collection of pop punk songs, although it's questionable as to wether it's quite so fantastic enough to make up for the eight year wait and the festival and tour pullouts. Personally, this were never really issues I got to concerned about and so I like the album without having any of those issues in mind. There may be a few people who bought tickets to see them who may not feel that the album was worth the wait. But focusing on the songs alone, it's a really fun and enjoyable and engaging collection of songs that shows Blink-182 making a creative and original sound despite combining elements from their previous work and doing it with a great sense of pride and achievement. It's really good to see these guys back again. Let's just hope it's they release some more stuff, preferably before 2019.

 Blink-182's Neighborhoods is out now via DCG. The band will tour the UK from next June to July.

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