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Music Review

Book Cover

Death of the Neighbourhood


Artist: Death of the Neighbourhood
Atic Records
RRP: £15.79
5 050954 170828
Available 10 November 2008

Death of the Neighbourhood is fronted by Babybird's Stephen Jones - Babybird was most famous for 'You're Gorgeous' which reached number three in the UK singles chart in October 1996.

Death of the Neighbourhood's debut album, Death of the Neighbourhood, is something of an acquired taste - like Gorillaz tracks. The biggest problem though is that while there are more than enough good tracks, there's also a lot of filler material. 'F*ck the Radio (Whup Whup!)' being one of the most obvious examples.

This album brought to mind three other bands: the aforementioned Gorillaz, there's a hint of Spaced's zaniness, and finally there's more than a dollop of the weird and wacky world of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. A strange combination of styles, I know. But somehow it kinda works.

If you can manage to sit through the entire first CD, then the second disc is actually much more rewarding. Personally, as belching, swearing and other childish activities no longer make me roll around laughing, I preferred the more mellow tracks (like 'God's Not Coming' on the first CD and the majority of songs on the second disc).

On the second CD, my favourites included 'Relax Stupid', 'The Town of Half Finished Buildings', 'Fake Gold Sunday' and 'A Cool Breeze on the Back of the Neck' - especially that last one.

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the tracks fell like a modern Penguin Cafe Orchestra album - especially tracks like 'Petrified in the Hills Above the Cemetery' and 'Train Derails on the the Way to a Happy Place' - even the titles sound like they belong in the Penguin Cafe Orchestra catalogue.

All in all this is a bit of a strange combination. The album switches between brash, trashy tracks and slower, kitsch instrumental numbers. I think this is really trying to please too many people and I'm worried it'll end up satisfying few. Having said that, I rather enjoyed it - on balance.


Nick Smithson

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