Neutrals

Reviews

Neutrals Personal Computing / In the Future 7”

There are worse forms of escape from these dire times than retreating into the warm embrace of vintage computer magazines. That’s how Oakland’s NEUTRALS return from their Kebab Disco LP, this time with a bit more in the way of vocal harmonies that strongly resemble TELEVISION PERSONALITIES. It’s nice to hear them developing their craft with a more thick and resonant guitar and tight songwriting that brings a sort of 20th-century optimism about the future: world peace, flying cars, and geodesic domes. That may not sound very punk, but I had this on repeat in full indulgence of their retro utopia.

Neutrals Rent/Your House EP

I will get straight to it: NEUTRALS nail it here! The centerpiece tunes are all crisp guitar shocks, thematically serving as a “State of the Bay” address (though equally applicable for any urban locale), detailing the frustrations of paying impossible rents while being utterly surrounded by brutal, punishing assholes. “N.O. 1982” shows more mod-punk influence than any tune I’ve heard from them thus far (sayin’ somethin’), even as it rallies against retro-centric ideals. Also…an EXPLOITED cover? Bold move, but totally victorious! NEUTRALS cram more thought and passion into this short-form set than most peers could hope for in an album. Proceeds from sales donated to both Border Angels and The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which quite obviously rules as well.  Very highly recommended.

Neutrals Kebab Disco LP

What is there to say about a record that somehow evokes the view from a teenage bedroom in some Scottish new town circa 1982 at the same time as a modern mall food court in modern-day San Francisco? Tightly wound sounds formed in the nucleus of UKDIY and the post-JAM mod revival—the music is nostalgic: painting a picture of youth trying to escape a drab existence thru art school or technical college, dreaming of Italian adventures as their friends become motorcycle cops and hippies park their BMWs where their revolutionary dreams once were. This record is a crafty cigarette in a stairway outside an indie disco that plays STRETCHEADS into SHOP ASSISTANTS. This record bridges Glasgow in some mystical undetermined past with San Francisco in a very non-nostalgic present. Allan McNaughton’s very distinctive vocals will sound familiar to fans of GIANT HAYSTACKS and AIRFIX KITS, but this record has less of a D BOON paint coat than those groups, and more of an UNDERTONES 45s and cheap charity shop parka glow. Comes with a super sick lyric booklet, which is a true visual delight. Recommended!