Chip Chrome & The Monotones: The Neighbourhood’s Latest Album

Jase Leonard, Copy Editor

The Neighbourhood is an American alt-rock band that originated in California back in 2011. They released their first album, I Love You, in 2013, and have had a large following ever since. The band is made up of lead vocalist Jesse Rutherford, bassist Mikey Margott, drummer Brandon Fried, and guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels. The Neighbourhood had two extremely successful albums, the before mentioned I Love You and Wiped Out! (2015), which gained them a cult following and made them a prominent band in the alternative community. Their song “Sweater Weather” reached number one on Billboard’s Alternative charts for 11 consecutive weeks and is still a staple song for fall for many. On September 25th this year, The Neighbourhood released their fourth album, Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones under Columbia Records. This album features an interesting persona named Chip Chrome, played by Jesse Rutherford, and his band The Mono-Tones. Chip Chrome is an alien, and if you looked at some of the album’s photos and listened to a song or two, you would understand right away that Chip Chrome is a knock-off Ziggy Stardust. Rutherford stated that Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust is what inspired Chip Chrome, and this concept album was enthused by Jesse Rutherford’s addiction to social media and the band’s struggle with identity. This album is artistic and focuses on visuals along with their amazing musical production. Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones is different than their others, it is a bit less angsty and focuses more on a music style suggestive of the 1970s.

The most popular song on the album is “Cherry Flavoured”, and I can see why. The intro to the song is amazing, the chorus is catchy, and it has great instrumentals that pair nicely with Jesse’s raw vocals. This song is not super up-beat, it is relaxed and beautiful; I really like the background music throughout the whole song. I am not sure how these lyrics relate back to the theme of Chip Chrome and this whole social media addiction concept, but the song is nice enough that I will let it slide. What I will not let slide is the band’s obsession with using the British spelling of their titles! The band is from California it should be “Flavored” not “Flavoured” and obviously the same with the name of their band. Call me nit-picky but it just does not sit right with me. The next most popular song, “Lost in Translation”, starts off with a super cool, Motown sounding bit which transitions smoothly into the rest of the song. This song is a bit more pop than rock and is very up-beat compared to “Cherry Flavoured”. Again, this song is catchy and just makes you want to get up and dance. It is my personal favorite on the album and is certainly worth a listen. I also think this song relates more to the album’s overall concept, with themes of communication and translation with others being hindered, presumably due to social media and its attention absorbing properties. “Devil’s Advocate” is the third song on the album and is somewhere in the middle of “Cherry Flavoured’s” slower place and “Lost in Translation’s” up-beat tempo. More guitar focused, “Devil’s Anthem” brings the rock’n’roll into the album and is more reminiscent of the bands earlier work. I like the sound of this song, and it fits the extra-terrestrial vibe of the album with a techno beat in the background for most of the song. The rest of the songs on the album are good, but I think these three are the best and represent the whole album nicely; I would recommend these songs first.

Overall, I think this album is superb. Each song is different than the next, and the music itself is amazing. The lyrics, production, and pure talent of all band members makes this album terrific. The whole Chip Chrome persona was interesting; personally I think it did not add much to the album, but I suppose it spiced it up creatively. I would rate the album an 8/10 and would recommend it to anyone who is into alternative rock/pop. The Neighbourhood has been amazing since day one, and I expected this album to be lesser compared to their last few successful albums because that seems to be what happens when artists produce a lot of good music in the beginning of their careers. Surprisingly, though, the band managed to keep their amazing album streak going; Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones is another fantastic record in their discography.