It's often said that it takes a tragedy to reunite, and nowhere does this old adage appear truer than with Neighborhoods.
Eight years ago, it seemed pop-punk favourites Blink 182 were over and subsequent side projects by the band members indicated that 2003's eponymous fifth album would be their last. Then, in 2008, their producer Jerry Finn passed away, shortly before the drummer Travis Barker was one of just two survivors in a plane crash. Differences were put to one side and rumours of a reunion surfaced.
Three years on, this album is the result. Perhaps understandably, it's a significantly more sombre production than before and - for the first time in their career - the band seem to tackle the serious card well. No doubt echoing the past 96 months of darkness, the lyrics touch on addition, depression and loss. "Maybe I'm better off dead", goes the booming Natives, while Hearts All Gone suggests "let's drink ourselves to death".
If anything, the album sounds like an amalgamation of the band members' side projects than original Blink 182, blending the splendour of Tom Delonge's Angels & Airwaves with the electronic tweaks of Mark Hoppus and Barker's +44. Only the first single Up All Night lurks into territories of old. Blink 182 aren't the band they used to be - Neighborhoods is far removed from Enema of the State - but you'd hope that their fans might have ditched the toilet humour and grown up since then, too.