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One of the many, many aftereffects of the Covid pandemic was a loss of awareness of new albums and/or rockers’ second acts – barely a minor inconvenience compared to what far too many people and their families suffered, of course, but a shame for music fans getting back into the swing of things. Thus a lot of folks, present company included, completely missed that beloved Boston power trio the Neighborhoods has resurrected itself and put out a new album. Indeed, Last Known Address originally came out in 2019, but is getting a new push now that life seems to be opening up, slowly but surely.
Joined by Watts drummer John Lynch, ‘Hoods drivers David Minehan (guitars) and Lee Harrington (bass) pick up pretty much where their 1987 classic Reptile Men left off, with loud power pop and tuneful hard rock that boasts higher craft than a lot of similar bands bother to muster. So the heads-down crunch rawk of “In Case of Creeps” and “Bygone Era” supports clever lyrics worth close attention, instead of the kind of deliberately dumb words one might expect. The more overtly infectious “My Loss, Your Gain,” “Half Life” and “I Go Dark” work in bits – an unusual chord change here, an unexpected fill there – to keep the melodies from sounding like Cheap Who copycats. Elsewhere, “The Parasites” adds a funk element without becoming “funk rock,” “The Stowaway” dips into dramatic balladry without pretentiousness, and “Save Yourself” recalls the band’s punk roots with enough energy to light up Beantown. “We Are All Alone” ends the proceedings with the kind of minor-key anthem few acts can still pull off successfully – but the ‘Hoods can.
While it’s no surprise, given the nearly forty years of experience these guys have making music, the consistent level of craft and attention to detail never fail to impress. This is not a band coasting on nostalgia or rep – a lot of effort went into this record to keep it from just reviving past glories. At no point did the Neighborhoods ever say, “eh, good enough.” and that makes Last Known Address one of the best rock & roll comeback albums in ages.
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