LIVE: The Neighbourhood, Hype Machine Handpicked, CMJ

I’ve always joked that The Neighbourhood is like The Weeknd with guitars.

It seems like the LA band pulled a page right out of the Toronto singer’s marketing playbook. Their videos never featured the band. Their debut mysteriously lacked press photos, and up until they started doing live shows we had no clue what they really looked like.

Unfortunately, it seems like the idea backfired, because the band really is lacking some of the commercial buzz that they were aiming for. And that’s a shame. Both their singles, “Female Robbery,” and “Sweater Weather,” are great pop songs, though flipped into a darker vein. With their major label backing, this act should be big, and a spirited crowd at Brooklyn Bowl packed the front, and many people already knew the words to their songs.

On stage, the group appears to be a bit boy-bandish. Their almost-matching “all Black everything” ensembles screams “I love my stylist!.” Lead singer Jesse Rutherford has the chops (he used to play in hardcore bands since the age of 13), but again he comes off a little like JC Chasez, the bad boy of N-Sync onstage. (But again I’m not in the target demographic for such things.)

Musically, however, these guys are technically precise. The dudes rocketed through their set, saving the in-between banter and chit-chat for another day. No rock-star antics here unfortunately, as the band felt a bit stodgy on stage. Hopefully this will be something that improves with time.

Having all that said, I’m still a fan of these guys and the more they play, the more they will improve. Let’s just hope that our fickle music world will give them time to do so.