Athlete Set Release
Producing themselves for the first time gave the band the freedom to record without constraints, and gives Neighbourhood an intimate yet grand feel. As with Tourist and their Mercury Prize nominated/UK platinum debut Vehicles and Animals, Neighbourhood is replete with the guitar-pop hooks that initially brought them masses of dedicated fans, but brims with more complex arrangements, sweeping melodies, and lush orchestration. Lyrically, the band remains true to themselves- singing about their real experiences with a sincerity lacking with many of their contemporaries. The album further establishes Pott as a lyricist of rare imagination and insight.
Beyond The Neighbourhood has a noticeable sonic skip in its stride, as evidenced by the stomping first single "Hurricane", inspired by an article Pott read in National Geographic about the increase of hurricanes in the Gulf and East Coasts. Following "Hurricane", the stomping "Tokyo" offers a tail of hypocrisy and the human condition; the claustrophobic "Airport Disco" imagines a future where airports are used as nightclubs because flying is banned; and the breakbeat-driven "It's Not Your Fault" finds hope in tragedy. That brings us to the gorgeous but biting "The Outsiders' which, as Pott wryly puts it, "is about being English"; the skittering electro lullaby "Flying Over Bus Stops", which is surely the most romantic song ever to be set on a London night bus; and the anthemic "Second Hand Stores", a song inspired by a story Pott read about nature falling out of synch with itself.
The album draws to a close with "In The Library", which is about "growing up and taking responsibility for yourself" and the tragic "Best Not To Think About It", which Pott wrote after watching Falling Man, the documentary about those who jumped from the World Trade Center on 9/11. The final song is the heart-tearing "This Is What I Sound Like", a track inspired by one of the Israeli agents in Spielberg's Munich film. "It's about being confused," says Pott. "Not knowing whether you're a good or bad person, or what you're doing is right or wrong. It's really a summing up of the whole album."