The very first riff on the album screams Nirvana. Rough around the edges and dense all through the middle. About 15 seconds later NGHBR’s pop sensibilities become much more apparent and in another 120 so does their musicianship. The basic mold of opening track “Bodies” is pop-punk but with a leg closer to Pearl Jam than Blink 182. The structure of the song, both layout and composition, is what you should expect but the bridge guitar solo about two minutes in provides a blissful interlude cutting through the thick forest surrounding. The song closes out where it began and the test of the rest begins.
“American Junk” hits the first mark, opening with just a scratchy guitar lick inviting the deep funk that follows. After the heavily distorted track prior, the funk-infused punk is a lively follow up to the fuzzier opener. Once again, about two minutes through everything drops into a blissful bridge, this time featuring lead singer Ian Kenney’s reverberated vocals with Tommy Fleishman’s spatial guitar matching each note. “Drinking With Friends” is a bit Panic At The Disco-y with a brief Mars Volta guitar riff appearing twice (and more would be nice). It’s more of an ode to pre-gaming than a pre-game banger in itself, but the unique sound draws on different walks of rock.
Kenney’s solo piano ballad “Spoon Fed” is the versatility bridge track of the album, followed by the majestic “Beautiful Birds.” Birds’ circular structure twists you up as its Spanish flare seduces you till the fiery chorus erupts into a heated call for the doctor. Apparently someone couldn’t handle the heat. Finally, “Hallows” builds from a relatively straight dance beat into a short, infectious chorus. My body it suits me right yells Kenney without having to scream. Drummer Jordan Schneider whips out some wicked fills, his most impressive moments so far, ending the short album on its highest note.