Hailing from small towns in central Pennsylvania is Americana folk-pop duo The Neighborly with their new self-titled 5-track EP, 'The Neighborly.'
The smalltown duo comprises skilled recording artists Arissa May and Brock Lawley. They formed The Neighborly in 2017 after noticing their palpable creative chemistry reminiscent of folk-pop acts like The Civil Wars, Over the Rhine, and JohnnySwim. Now, they're ready to connect and encourage listeners with their latest 5-track EP, 'The Neighborly.'
The project kicks off with the soulful and mysterious introductory track, "Lights Go Down," which quickly sets the moody tone with tender r&b keys, smooth acoustic guitars, and light percussion. Both Arissa and Brock's vocals are stunning in this heated piece, especially as they discuss the things that roam and the temptations that lie when the "Lights Go Down." There's so much emotion in this track, and it's truly a refreshing and thrilling listening experience.
Taking a spin on track number two, "Real Love," The Neighborly slows things down with a moody and introspective instrumental that oozes darker-toned folk and alternative rock. We love the heavy instrumentals in this piece, from the dark drums to the bright electric guitars; The Neighborly knows their way around chilling the listener. This track discusses the unbridled and aching passion in real, authentic love and noticing the obsession it can take on both parties.
Moving into the EP's halfway track, "Lift You Up," The Neighborly takes their time and shifts into a more emotional, downtempo piece. The soothing instrumentals take us into a sonic daydream as Arissa and Brock vocalize those weary-headed moments of inner turmoil and chaos. This song is honestly a treat for the ears, and The Neighborly wants to lend a helping hand to help "Lift You Up," something we all deserve.
Jumping into the fourth track, "How It Goes," The Neighborly offers another moody, introspective, and heavy-hearted anthem for confusion. This track melts the speakers with ominous and mysterious folk instrumentals that feed the listener with intense emotions regarding the trials and tribulations of love. This is another anthemic piece that will leave you chanting The Neighborly's lyrics from beginning to end.
Landing on the EP's fifth and final track, "Hold Me Down (Rise Up)," The Neighborly packs our speakers with a true foot-stomper. They use this song to punch listeners with reflective and empowering themes of never being held down and going after your dreams, no matter the obstacles. We adore this powerful outro track; it perfectly closes the project with intense energy and drives us to rise up and go after whatever our heart desires.
Be ready to experience the soul and power of The Neighborly in their latest self-titled 5-track EP, 'The Neighborly,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, The Neighborly. You've truly left your mark on us with your recent EP, 'The Neighborly.' What experiences or moments led you to create this powerful project?
In many ways, the album is the kind of record we always wanted to make but our previous musical projects and jobs wouldn't allow it. It was the first time we could be honest about who we were and where we were in life. We wrote about what we were experiencing and our worldviews and we wrote the music based on what *we* would want to listen to as we were both heavily influenced by similar bands in our early lives with the same sound.
What core themes or concepts did you want listeners to take away from 'The Neighborly?'
The core concepts we explore are real, time-weathered love, faith, family, and our authentic worldview. For example, the song Real Love is an attempt at writing a love song making a case for love that we don't hear much. It's based on the concept that love isn't cheap but it's three-dimensional, there's sacrifice, and there are things that aren't all flowers, passion, and romance. Hold Me Down is a power anthem to sing when you are faced with any enemy that might be trying to hold you back. How it Goes encourages the listener to be a light of hope in a dark place and Lift You Up is a reminder that no matter what difficulty you face, you are not alone. Everything we sing about on this album is likely something we would end up discussing in conversation if we were to talk to you in person.
Did your duo work with any producers or musicians to help from 'The Neighborly' EP to life? What was that experience like?
We worked with Tony Guyer with Forgotten Genre Productions and our studio musicians and co-producer were Ty Godfrey and Jake Ritchey. Our style is very simple, stripped-down acoustic with two vocals so taking these songs into the studio with other musicians allowed the songs to take on a new life and sound. Tony specializes in an authentic, minimally produced sound and we thought that would fit well with our style and love of Americana music. Ty and Jake created the perfect mood for each song with their instrumentation and sick talent. We really loved the collaboration with them as they really captured the feel of the songs the way we imagined they should sound.
How does 'The Neighborly' EP represent your duo? How can new listeners learn about who you are and the music you tend to create through this project?
The EP represents our stage of life. We are raising families, we love our spouses, we love our community and we have chosen to make music to encourage others in this same phase of life. We notice that there isn't a lot of popular music written for this stage of life so we call our music "music for the middle."
Does your duo have a shared favorite song from the EP 'The Neighborly?' Why does that song stand out most to you?
It was really hard to agree on a favorite song, they all have something unique we love but Lights Go Down wins out for the musical bed that our studio musicians created, it has such a cool vibe and almost haunting feel. Brock wrote the song after a conversation with a larger-than-life elderly woman who had serious words of warning for those not staying on the straight and narrow. When he presented the song to me (Arissa) I had to laugh because my Dad had a similar saying for me when I was a teen, "Nothing good happens after midnight" to which I always rolled my eyes, being a night owl. It was just a fun concept to play with and we loved how it turned out musically.
What's next for you?
We are currently working on a new summer single, in between a bunch of local summer shows. We have wanted to host a show in our actual neighborhood since we first formed, being actual neighbors ourselves and writing a lot of material based on the lives of those we live beside, so we are doing that in July and are going to film it. Our next plan is to record our originals and cover mashups in a more acoustic style, similar to how you would hear us live, and release them as singles in the fall.