This is Neighborhood Brats’ third long player and they’re growing in every sense of the word. Originally put together in California by Jenny Angelillo – aka Jenny Stiletto, previously of The Orphans and Roofie And The Nightstalker – they’ve produced a pop punk album that effervesces with heavy drums, pounding bass and staccato guitars and has echoes of Gateway District, The Eyeliners and Holly And The Italians. (I’m hoping they got their moniker from the track of the same name by The Boys from 1978’s Alternative Chartbusters, but that’s probably too much of an ask!)
Who Took The Rain? starts off proceedings and, with its opening refrain of “And I know …, the world is burning; And I know …, this is the end”, is a powerful and prescient piece on global warming. And, given that they’re from California, they’ll be seeing it first-hand right now.
Signs And Semantics and Miss America Pageant flash by in a sea of melodic, syncopated guitars with bruising drums in the background; and we clearly hear the full range of Jenny Angelillo’s vocal range – quite exquisite.
FFBF (obviously an acronym for something, so I did a little digging; more likely to stand for Famous For Being Famous than First Federal Bank of Florida!) transpires it’s a short, angry piece on the vacuous nature of fame.
Next two tracks – Transitional Housing and We’ll Find You – are straightforward pop punk tracks with great vocal harmonies that have an addition of a slight echo in the background that really pads out the songs.
Harvey Weinstein (Is A Symptom) is a polemical, seething song about how Weinstein’s (female) lawyer basically stated that women are at fault for being sexually abused and that they should take responsibility. In Angelillo’s own words: “When I heard this, I think I screamed, threw my phone, and crumpled on the kitchen floor in tears”. This song is that moment.
All Nazis Must Die is a heavier, surf type instrumental track (it reminded me of tracks on an old LP I had back around ’81 called Mutant Surf Punks – Hang 11). Even though this has no lyrics, it carries a sentiment that should be mandatory.
I Weep For The Future is another warning about the state of the world that could be a companion piece to album opener ‘Who Took The Rain’. This is more considered and thoughtful.
Migraines is a bruising piece with heavy bass and trebly guitars that comes across as a list of drugs used to treat migraines and depression etc. and then becomes a list of common associates with mental illness: the lyrics and music complement each other perfectly.
LeBron James is a song about a volatile romance, though I couldn’t work out why it’s named after one of the best players in the NBA.
Album closer I Want You is a reworking of an old Joan Jett And The Blackhearts track from 1979 with updated, 21st century lyrics – and why the hell not?
Stream and download Confines Of Life on Bandcamp here.
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This review was written by Rich Bailey.