Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
‘Out The Neighbourhood’ is the debut EP from Nottingham indie rock four-piece Blondes, who made a big impact in 2020 with their single ‘Coming of Age’, which became a viral sensation on TikTok and rapidly amassed over 15 million streams.
Indeed, their rise to prominence has been impressive: playing the Festival Republic stage at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival, and support shows with Stereophonics and Inhaler, it’s little wonder that Blondes have been labelled as one of the most exciting breakthrough acts of 2021.
The band formed at Nottingham University towards the end of 2017, meeting as freshers from widely disparate areas of the UK. Their eureka moment came in the summer of 2019 whilst watching a set by The Vaccines at Glastonbury Festival, during which they heard an impassioned speech encouraging the audience to start a band and be fearless in chasing their dreams. The rest, as they say, is history.
‘Out The Neighbourhood’ opens with ‘Minimum Wage’, which introduces us to the band’s signature sound – upbeat indie rock with crisp vocals and catchy instrumentals.
It’s smooth and slickly produced (the tracks were produced and mixed by Rich Turvey (Blossoms, The Courteeners, Oscar Lang, Vistas), Phil Booth, Tom Roach and Tim Speed at Coastal Sound Recording Studio), with a dreamy overtone.
This dreaminess is even more marked in title track ‘Out The Neighbourhood’, largely thanks to the hazy guitars, although this is punctuated by punchy periods of energetic musicianship.
Coming of Age’ is the EPs highlight – it’s no surprise that this proved such a hit for the band, with its prophetic chorus (“Here, something really could happen”). It’s insanely catchy and extremely radio (and TikTok) friendly.
‘Street Fight’ brings a shift in style, with a more subdued opening dominated by bass and keyboard. The mood takes an upswing for ‘Low on the Comedown’, another EP highlight and again showing the band’s ability to create great melodies. The EP draws to a close with ‘Lavender’, which slows the tempo and brings with it a stripped-back, acoustic feel.
After last year’s viral hit with ‘Coming of Age’, expectations have been running high for Blondes’ EP, and I’m pleased to report that it doesn’t disappoint. Skilful songwriting and taut instrumentals make ‘Out The Neighbourhood’ a noteworthy debut. Recommended.
- Minimum Wage
- Out the Neighbourhood
- Coming of Age
- Street Fight
- Low On the Comedown
‘Out The Neighbourhood’ was released on November 12th 2021