With their first LP since 2003, it feels like [a]Blink-182[/a] basically had two options. They could re-embrace the poop gags and Red Bull-soaked riffs that had won them millions of fans all over the plane,t or they could keep going with the taste for experimentalism that they found on their last album, their deadly serious self-titled record. With sixth record [b]’Neighborhoods'[/b], they’ve attempted to straddle both.
While there are no songs about shagging dogs, there are no six-minute experiments or awkward duets either. At the tail end of their career the first time round, you had a [a]Blink-182[/a] trying to forget their past and desperately trying to prove that there was depth to their songwriting; that they were actually, y’know, serious musicians. On [b]’Neighborhoods'[/b], then, you have a band completely at ease with its past and one confident enough to acknowledge their early work, with nods on the album to moments from their whole back catalogue. [b]’Heart’s All Gone'[/b] could easily have been released on [b]’Dude Ranch'[/b], [b]’After Midnight'[/b] brings back the black-hearted power of [b]’Take Off Your Pants and Jacket'[/b] and [b]’Natives'[/b] has the same pop punk thwack that convinced 15 million people to part with money for [b]’Enema Of The State'[/b].
There’s also a surprising curve ball in how much some of the tracks, particularly opener [b]’Ghost On The Dancefloor'[/b] and single [b]’Up All Night'[/b], showcase Tom DeLonge’s taste for theaircraft hanger-filling power chords of side project [a]Angels & Airwaves[/a]. Given it was the guitarist’s desire to pursue other projects that played a large part in the band’s messy first ending, it’s amazing quite how much of his work with A&A has made it on to [b]’Neighborhoods'[/b], and how relaxed the other two seem about that.
It would have been easier to go back to making cock jokes and two-and-a-half-minute blasts about being dumped in high school, but [a]Blink-182[/a] have done what they promised they’d never do. They’ve gone all mature, come to terms with their past and kicked on to the future too.
- Record label: Interscope
- Release date: 27 Sep, 2011