Neighbors You Know is a collaboration project between Vinnie Chrisostomo and friends. The Chicago based indie band released their first LP See You Out There in late 2019. You’ll get what you expect out of a lo-fi indie debut — it’s grounded, laid back and an easy listen through and through, with bright melodies and a generous dose of melancholy. Chrisostomo’s vocals are soft and sincere, and moves in a lower range, which is well complemented by the gentle backing vocals of co-songwriters Rachel Bast and Elzbieta Mulica. One thing that gives Neighbors You Know their unique character is how varied their melodies and arrangements are, as every one of its eight tracks has a slightly different feel.
The first track “Familiar” is an ode to the simple things. A wailing guitar riff carries the emotion throughout the track. It carefully blends in with the vocals, as Crisostomo sings about the joy of going back to the familiarity of home.
“Worth It” starts with a solid bass line groove, which is then followed by simple stabs of guitar chords and a harmony of voices. It’s a song about surviving adversity and looking back to see that it’s all for a good reason. It’s cool to hear how each instrument fits in without occupying too much space, instead they compliment each other to create a full sound that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
“Something Better” is smooth and relaxing, with influences from surf pop. It’s warm melody and catchy guitar solo will mislead you into thinking that it’s all sunshine and daisies, but it’s actually about someone beating themselves up for staying in their comfort zone, with the nagging awareness that they can do so much more.
“Wave Goodbye” is steeped in nostalgia and melancholy, headlined by a catchy lead riff and heavy rhythm guitars. There’s a string of vocals in the background that sounds like a gentle sigh. It feels like going through memories with an old friend before saying goodbye.
The title track closes out the album with a stripped down demo that feels like it came out of a box of memorabilia. It’s minimalist production gives it a relatable charm that’s the staple of bedroom pop.
See You Out There is a promising debut, it knows its own strengths and uses it to full advantage. There is beauty in simplicity, and despite having a lo-fi tag, there isn’t any harshness or blurring in any of its production. This makes each song’s emotion easily conveyed, with the charm and relatability that comes from a place of genuine expression.
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