Back at it again, the pop punk boys from California release their first album in over seven years. With the obvious elevated hype surrounding their return, which almost looked like it would never happen due to many different roadblocks, with 27 million record sales to their name it seems as if the hype might be justified.
Skimming through ‘Neighborhoods‘ to get a quick idea of what Blink are bringing to the table with this, their sixth album, you’re left feeling like perhaps you’re listening to another run-of-the-mill post 2010 emo punk band. However, the age old saying of, “Never judge a book by its cover,” applies here, but with the first skim representing the book cover. After the first full listen interest is sparked in a pretty big way. Then after the second, third, and fourth time it’s blasted through your speakers there’s no question that this is not only a return to form, but also a mature step in musical growth.
The band’s hiatus has brought both a shift in sound - better songwriting, evident on the catchy ‘Wishing Well’, a heavier focus on drumming, thanks to Travis Barker’s non-stop work ethic over the past few years, and an improved attention to vocal detail. Listening to the album’s opening cut, ‘Ghost on the Dance Floor’, the way in which Mark Hoppus delivers his words is an excitable one. While the millions of Blink fans are incredibly excited to hear their favourite band back, this album gives the impression that the band are equally as thrilled.
Dissecting the tracks featured on the band’s latest effort, the early nineties inspired ‘Hearts All Gone’, which follows an atmospherically relaxed interlude of the same name, is like listening to early Blink. Fast paced drumming, a similar vocal pitch throughout, and an attractive instrumental break all make for a sure fire fan favourite. Single ‘Up All Night’ has a very teen pop feel to it, much to the delight of new fans, while the heavier guitar riff will fuel the fire that burns deep in the hearts of the original listener.
Stand out track ‘After Midnight’ is a mid-tempo gem with more replay value than a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ video. The trigger happy hi-hat tapping and late night tales of relationship thoughts are enough to help you realise that while Blink may not always be on top, they’re winning because they invented the game. Another notable moment on the album comes when the album’s closer, ‘Love is Dangerous’, takes a look at the obstacles that make love a war zone. With that said, while every adult experiences a certain level of life development and compromising situations, like the saying goes, “That which does not kill you can only make you stronger.” This is certainly true for Blink-182. With everything they’ve been through it’s nice to hear them return to form. Welcome to the ‘Neighborhoods’.